UP minister, 3 BJP MLAs quit, it's Akhilesh Yadav’s gain

News Network
January 11, 2022

Lucknow/New Delhi: In a massive jolt to the BJP and Yogi Adityanath just before the Uttar Pradesh election, a minister and three MLAs quit and joined the party's main challenger, Akhilesh Yadav. Swami Prasad Maurya, a top minister and backward caste leader in the Yogi Adityanath government, posted his resignation letter on Twitter.

Soon after he went public, three more MLAs, Roshan Lal Verma, Brijesh Prajapati and Bhagwati Sagar announced their resignations.

Reports suggest Mr Maurya may take a few more ministers and MLAs with him.

"Despite a divergent ideology, I worked with dedication in the Yogi Adityanath cabinet. But because of the grave oppression of Dalits, OBCs, farmers, unemployed and small businessmen, I am resigning," Swami Prasad Maurya wrote in the stinging resignation letter.

He told reporters: "What impact my exit will have on the BJP will be obvious after the 2022 assembly election."

As his letter emerged on Twitter, Akhilesh Yadav tweeted a photograph with Mr Maurya, welcoming him and his supporters to the Samajwadi Party. "I warmly welcome Swami Prasad Maurya, a leader who fights for social justice and equality, and all his supporters. There will be a revolution in social justice. Chang is coming in 2022," Mr Yadav tweeted in Hindi.

On cue, Roshan Lal Verma, a three-time MLA, declared that he was leaving the BJP with Mr Maurya.

Keshav Prasad Maurya, Deputy Chief Minister, posted an appeal on Twitter: "I don't know why Swami Prasad Maurya quit but I appeal to him, don't quit but let us talk. Decisions taken in haste can backfire."

The exits in Lucknow began as Yogi Adityanath and top BJP leaders met in Delhi to discuss Uttar Pradesh election strategy.

Mr Maurya, a powerful OBC (Other Backward Class) leader and multiple-term MLA, joined the BJP in 2016 after quitting Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Mr Maurya is the BJP MLA from Padrauna in eastern Uttar Pradesh. His daughter Sanghamitra is a BJP MP from UP.

Uttar Pradesh, India's most politically vital state, votes from February 10 in seven rounds in an election widely seen as a semifinal of sorts before the national election of 2024. The results will be declared on March 10.

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News Network
January 11,2022

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Bengaluru, Jan 11: Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka assembly, Siddaramaiah on Tuesday charged the ruling BJP with not implementing the Mekedatu project to expand its political base in Tamil Nadu.

Joining the padayatra organised by the Congress party demanding speedy implementation of the project on its third day, Siddaramaiah said: "To make its roots stronger in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, the ruling BJP is not implementing the project in the state. They are betraying the people of Karnataka for political gains. The padayatra is being organised not to give BJP any opportunity in this regard. There is only the state's interest in conducting the padayatra."

Reacting to state Home Minister Araga Jnanedra's warning that the Congress will have to take responsibility if there is a spurt in cases and a lockdown has to be announced, Siddaramaiah dubbed it as an irresponsible statement.

"Previous lockdowns have pushed the life of the common public to the brink. If at all the government wants to announce a lockdown, let them release compensation to organised and unorganised sector workers," he said.

The party workers from 11 assembly constituencies have arrived in Kanakapur city to participate in the padayatra. Party workers from Hassan, Mandya, Tumakuru, Chikkaballapur and Kolar will join the padayatra in the coming days. People are coming forward to join the rally voluntarily. This shows their interest in the Mekedatu project, he explained.

The BJP in Karnataka didn't show any interest in implementing the project between 2008 and 2013 when it was in power. "We came to power in May 2013. With the intention to implement it by September, we prepared a DPR and presented it before the Cauvery Water Tribunal. When we were in power, the BJP government at the Centre didn't allow us to take up the project. Now, the BJP is at the Centre as well as ruling in the state. People have elected 25 MPs from the state so why has it not been implemented," questioned Siddaramaiah.

"We are not scared of FIRs. The BJP cannot threaten us by lodging cases. Why are there no cases against Union Ministers of State Shobha Karandlaje, Bhagavanth Khooba who took part in public functions and rallies?" he said.

One lakh masks have been distributed in the padayatra.

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is not able to sleep with the response that the Congress is getting and he is trying to stop this at any cost, he said.

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News Network
January 10,2022

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Islamabad, Jan 10: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday alleged that minorities in India were being targeted by extremist groups and warned that such an agenda "is a real and present threat" to regional peace.

Khan took to Twitter to make the allegations in the wake of alleged inflammatory and provocative speeches against Muslims at an event in Haridwar in Uttarakhand held in December.

On his Twitter handle, Khan also questioned whether the BJP government supports the call for genocide of minorities in India, especially the 200 million Muslim community.

“It is high time international community took note & acted,” he further said.

In another tweet, Khan accused the BJP-led government of targeting minorities in India, adding that the extremist agenda “is a real and present threat to peace in our region.”

“The continuing silence of Modi govt on the call at an extremist Hindutva summit in Dec for genocide of minorities in India, especially the 200 mn Muslim community, begs the question whether the BJP govt supports this call. It is high time international community took note & acted(sic),” he tweeted.

Last month, Pakistan's Foreign Office summoned India’s Charge d’Affaires and conveyed its concern over the alleged hate speeches made at the Haridwar conclave.

Pakistan conveyed to the Indian side that the reported hate speeches were viewed with grave concern by the civil society and a cross-section of people in the country.

Held in Haridwar from December 17-20, the Dharma Sansad was organised by Yati Narasimhanand Giri of the Juna Akhada, who is already under police scanner for making hate speeches and inciting violence against Muslims.

At the event, several speakers allegedly made inflammatory and provocative speeches, calling for the killing of people from the minority community.

Two FIRs have been lodged against 15 people in the case, including Waseem Rizvi who changed his name to Jitendra Narayan Tyagi after converting to Hinduism recently and organiser of the Sansad Yati Narasimhanand, the head priest of Dasna temple in Ghaziabad.

A five-member Special Investigation Team has been constituted to look into the matter.

India's Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a Public interest litigation (PIL) seeking action against those who made hate speeches during the recent conclave.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana took note of the submissions of senior advocate Kapil Sibal that no action has been taken against those who made the hate speeches despite registration of FIR.

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News Network
January 14,2022

Two more legislators, belonging to the Apna Dal, an ally of the BJP, have resigned just ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections scheduled to take place next month.

Following his resignation, Chaudhary Amar Singh said: "This government is a liar and no development has been done. I met Akhilesh Yadav and will join him. Soon more people will join us."

He is likely to contest his Shohratgarh seat in Siddhartha Nagar on an SP ticket.

The other Apna Dal MLA R K Verma, who represents the Vishwanath Ganj seat of Pratapgarh, also announced that he is leaving the party.

Both the legislators blamed the Yogi Adityanath government for their leaving the alliance.

With the two new resignations, a total of 12 MLAs from the ruling alliance in Uttar Pradesh have quit, blaming the state government of being anti-backward.

Ten BJP MLAs, including three ministers, have quit the BJP since Tuesday.

It started with the exit of top minister Swami Prasad Maurya, followed by three MLAs close to him on the same day - Bhagwati Sagar, Roshan Lal Verma, and Brijesh Prajapati.

On Wednesday, another state minister Dara Singh Chauhan and MLA Avatar Singh Bhadana quit. Bhadana joined the RLD, an ally of the SP.

On Thursday, Minister Dharam Singh Saini, and three other BJP MLAs - Vinay Shakya, Mukesh Verma and Bala Awasthi - also left the party.

All three ministers who have quit are key OBC (Other Backward Class) leaders, claiming that the interests of the community are being neglected.

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