‘No more’: Akhilesh shuts doors for BJP’s culprits; Targeting Adityanath for fielding him from Gorakhpur

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said on Saturday that a day after five BJP MLAs and one Apna Dal (Sonelal) MLA joined the SP, BJP MLAs or ministers will no longer be taken in his party. Taking a jibe at the BJP’s decision to field Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from the Gorakhpur constituency, he said the saffron party has already sent him home.

Gorakhpur is the hometown of Adityanath. He was an MP from the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat from 1998 until he became the Chief Minister in 2017.

Speaking to reporters here, the SP chief said, “As far as contesting elections is concerned, it was earlier said that he (Adityanath) would contest from Mathura, Prayagraj, Ayodhya or Deoband. I am happy that BJP has already sent him home (Gorakhpur), although he is in Gorakhpur, ticket was booked for him on March 11 (counting of votes on March 10). I think he should stay in Gorakhpur and there is no need for him (Lucknow) to return. Hearty congratulations.”

“I will tell the BJP that I am not going to take BJP MLAs or ministers (in SP) now, you can cut their tickets,” he said. However, he later said that a BJP leader would soon join the SP, but did not reveal his name.

When asked about former Uttar Pradesh minister Dara Singh Chouhan, who left the BJP recently, Yadav said he would soon join the SP. Former Uttar Pradesh cabinet minister and prominent OBC leader Swami Prasad Maurya on Friday joined the Samajwadi Party along with another rebel minister Dharam Singh Saini.

Five BJP MLAs and Apna Dal (Sonelal) MLA Amar Singh Choudhary also joined the SP in the presence of Yadav. Yadav’s statement comes after the BJP announced the names of 107 candidates for the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections and fielded Adityanath from the Gorakhpur (urban) assembly constituency.

The party has declared the names of the candidates for the seats to be held in the first two phases. The list was released by BJP’s Uttar Pradesh in-charge and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan along with party general secretary Arun Singh during a press conference at the party headquarters in Delhi.

Pradhan said Adityanath will be the BJP candidate from Gorakhpur city and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya from Sirathu. Both are presently members of the Legislative Council of the state. Voting in seven phases for the 403-member Uttar Pradesh Assembly began on February 10.

(with PTI inputs)

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