Lucknow: Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and former minister in Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s cabinet, Dara Singh Chauhan, resigned from the Uttar Pradesh assembly Saturday, sparking speculations of the leader returning to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
A leader from the other backward classes (OBC) community and MLA from Ghosi in East Uttar Pradesh (UP), Chauhan announced he had submitted his resignation to UP Speaker Satish Mahana. The UP secretariat confirmed the development later.
Although he cited no reason for his decision, it comes less than a year before the 2024 General Elections. Uttar Pradesh sends 80 representatives to the Parliament — the highest of any state in India.
Official sources at the secretariat confirmed to ThePrint that Chauhan’s resignation has been accepted. ThePrint reached the leader via calls and text messages for his comment. This report will be updated if and when a response is received.
The development comes at a time when there are talks that Chauhan could return to the BJP fold. The Samajwadi Party (SP), which Chauhan joined in January last year — ahead of the 2022 assembly elections in the state — has claimed that the BJP has promised the leader a party ticket for the coming General Elections.
“There is no question of resigning from the party now as he has had a settlement with the BJP. This manner (of politics) is not correct. Akhilesh Yadav ji made him an MLA and now, he is likely to get a Lok Sabha ticket from the BJP,” SP’s chief spokesperson Rajendra Chowdhary told ThePrint when asked if Chauhan had quit the party as well.
The BJP, however, has denied that he had approached them.
“We are yet to get a proposal from him for joining the BJP but he is welcome. Anyone who wants to make PM Narendra Modi the prime minister for the third time in 2024 is welcome,” Uttar Pradesh’s BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi told ThePrint.
Meanwhile, soon after his resignation, Chauhan’s photo with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi also went viral on Twitter.
Ghosi Lok Sabha seat is currently held by Bahujan Samaj Party’s Atul Rai and is one of the 14 seats that currently have non-BJP parliamentarians. BJP wants to secure all 80 seats in the next elections and is currently laying the groundwork for the seats it lost in 2019.
Who is Dara Singh Chauhan?
After having served as forest minister in Yogi Adityanath’s cabinet, Chauhan, along with two other cabinet ministers — Swami Prasad Maurya and Dharam Singh Saini — joined the BJP just ahead of last year’s assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
Despite having witnessed a close fight with BJP’s Vijay Rajbhar in the UP assembly elections last year, Chauhan was the only one of three BJP turncoats to have managed to retain their seats.
A leader who began his political career with the Bahujan Samaj Party, Chauhan won his first Lok Sabha election from Ghosi in 2009. In 2015, he switched his loyalties to the BJP and won the 2017 assembly elections from Madhuban.
(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)