With political parties in Uttar Pradesh preparing for the upcoming Assembly elections, speculations are rife of at least five suspended Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLAs joining the Samajwadi Party (SP).
The MLAs met SP chief Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday. The meeting lasted about 20 minutes.
"The meeting with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, which lasted for 15-20 minutes, witnessed discussions on the upcoming UP Assembly elections, and it was a nice meeting," Sushma Patel, MLA from Mungra Badshahpur assembly constituency in Jaunpur district told PTI.
When asked about the future course of action, Patel said, "Personally, I have made up my mind to join the Samajwadi Party."
The other MLAs who met Yadav are Mohd Aslam Raini, Hakimlal Bind, Mustafa Siddiqui and Hargovind Bhargav. The BSP had suspended them last year in October along with two other MLAs-- Chaudhary Aslam Ali and Vandana Singh.
They were suspended for opposing the nomination of party's official candidate Ramji Gautam for the elections to the Rajya Sabha.
At present, there are 18 Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLAs in the 403-member Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly.
When asked what prompted the suspended BSP MLAs to meet Akhilesh Yadav, Patel told PTI, "We were suspended in October 2020 during the Rajya Sabha elections, and we were categorically told not to use the flag and banner of the BSP, and also to not attend any party meeting."
"At the time of the Rajya Sabha elections, the BSP did not issue any whip, nor did we indulge in cross-voting. We were suspended without any basis. We were suspended as we had gone to meet Akhilesh Yadav," she added.
"Now, we have to look for alternatives. So, in this context, we had called upon Akhilesh Yadav," she tod PTI, and added that now she has nothing to do with the BSP.
Earlier this month, Mayawati had expelled BSP's legislative party leader Lalji Verma and Akbarpur MLA Ram Achal Rajbhar.
(With PTI inputs)