In a massive setback for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the Assembly elections, a minister and three MLAs on Tuesday resigned from the party and joined Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party (SP).

Swami Prasad Maurya, a senior minister 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.

Swami Prasad Maurya, a powerful OBC (Other Backward Class) leader and five-time MLA, joined the BJP in 2016 after quitting Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

He was central to the BJP’s plans to draw a critical section of OBC voters to counter the Samajwadi Party.

The other three defectors have travelled the same route as Maurya – from the BSP to the BJP to Samajwadi Party.

“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,” Maurya mentioned in his resignation letter.

He said that what impact his 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 Maurya, welcoming him and his supporters to the Samajwadi Party.

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