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Mayawati's party faces desertion in UP as BSP MP Ritesh Pandey joins BJP

Pandey's resignation came close on the heels of speculations about BSP MP Sangeeta Azad's possible switch to the BJP.
Last Updated 25 February 2024, 08:16 IST

Lucknow: BSP Lok Sabha member Ritesh Pandey on Sunday resigned from the primary membership of the party and joined the BJP in what many apprehended the beginning of desertions from the party.

Pandey's resignation came close on the heels of speculations about BSP MP Sangeeta Azad's possible switch to the BJP after the MP met UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath a few days back.

Azad was an MP from Lalganj (reserve) seat in UP's Azamgarh district. Azad's possible switch would be a huge blow to the BSP as her family wielded considerable clout over the dalit voters in Azamgarh and nearby districts.

Ritesh Pandey was an MP from Ambedkar Nagar LS seat and there were reports that BSP had informed him that he would not be renominated this time. According to the sources, Pandey was likely to be offered a ticket from the saffron party.

BJP leaders here claimed that a few more BSP MP's could switch loyalty in the days to come. BSP has ten MP's in the Lok Sabha.

Earlier BSP MP from Amroha Danish Ali had also indicated that he could join the Congress. Danish Ali, who was suspended from the BSP, had joined senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's ongoing 'Bharat Jodo Nyaya Yatra'.

Reacting to Pandey's switch, BSP supremo Mayawati said that his departure would have no impact on the party's electoral prospects.

BJP was going all out to woo the leaders of the rival political parties in the state ahead of the forthcoming Parliamentary elections. According to the sources in the state BJP, several senior leaders of Samajwadi Party (SP), BSP and Congress were in touch with the saffron party and could join it in the days to come.

Senior SP leader and former state minister Sanjay Garg had also recently joined the BJP. BJP sources here said that many other senior leaders of the rival parties were in contact with them and they would also join the party in the days to come.

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(Published 25 February 2024, 08:16 IST)

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