Former Uttar Pradesh ministers and OBC leaders Swami Prasad Maurya and Dharam Singh Saini – who resigned this week from the Yogi Adityanath government and the ruling BJP just weeks before Assembly polls – on Friday joined the Samajwadi Party in the presence of opposition leader Akhilesh Yadav.
Also joining the Samajwadi Party were MLAs Vinay Shakya and Bhagwati Sagar.
Uttar Pradesh MLA Chaudhary Amar Singh of the Apna Dal Thursday quit the BJP-led alliance just weeks ahead of polls – this is the eleventh resignation for Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in three days. Akhilesh Yadav, who has emerged as the key challenger in UP, has yet again benefitted.
Seven other BJP MLAs and one from Apna Dal, which is in alliance with the BJP, have also exited the party in the last three days.
The Congress has fielded the mother of 2017 Unnao rape victim as its candidate for next month’s assembly election in Uttar Pradesh. Asha Singh, the Unnao victim’s mother, was also among those named in the list released by the party on Friday.
“Our list sends a new message that if you have been a victim of harassment and torture, the Congress will support you,” said Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, as she released the list.
Today, the Election Commission will also decide if the present ban on rallies will continue.
Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Punjab, and Uttarakhand will vote over seven phases starting February 10, with counting of votes scheduled for March 10. Polls in all 5 states will be held amid a massive surge in Covid cases.
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The Congress has fielded actor and beauty pageant winner Archana Gautam from Hastinapur constituency in the Meerut district to contest the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.
Ms Gautam got a ticket within two months of joining the party. She had joined Congress in November 2021.
On Thursday, the party rolled out its first list of 125 candidates for the assembly elections which are due to be held in seven phases in Uttar Pradesh from February 10 and the list includes 50 women candidates.