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BJP MLA meets Akhilesh Yadav, sets off buzz

Samajwadi Party (SP) spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary said that more than 100 BJP MLAs were in touch with the party and were wanting an appointment with the party president.

IANS | Lucknow |

Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Sitapur Rakesh Rathore met Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav, giving a clear indication of shifting loyalties in the political quicksand.  Rathore is an OBC (Other Backward Classes) leader from Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh.

Rathore met Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday evening, setting off a political buzz. A photograph of the meeting later went viral on social media.

Samajwadi Party (SP) spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary said that more than 100 BJP MLAs were in touch with the party and were wanting an appointment with the party president.

In May, the BJP MLA was apparently heard expressing “helplessness” when asked by journalists to comment on why a trauma center set up in 2016 in Khairabad’s Jamayatpur area was still not functional. It falls in the Sitapur assembly constituency, from where Rathore was elected in 2017.

Rakesh Rathore had struck a discordant note in his party when he had said, about three months ago, that he would not dare speak against his party government for fear of being booked under the sedition charge. Rathore is an OBC (Other Backward Classes) leader from Sitapur.

He had earlier expressed his displeasure in a conversation with a government officer when he said that as an MLA he could not help his people. The audio clip of the conversation had gone viral on social media.

Rathore, 55, said in Hindi: “Hum zyada bolenge toh deshdroh, rajdroh hum pe bhi to lagega (If I say more, I will be booked for sedition too).” He also suggested that MLAs have little standing before the government when he questioned: “vidhayakon ki haisiyat kya hai? (What is the status of legislators)?”

The Bharatiya Janata Party did not officially comment on Rathore’s meeting with Akhilesh Yadav. A senior party functionary, however, said, “There are some legislators who have been non-performers. Now they are apprehensive of not getting a ticket for the 2022 Assembly elections and are, therefore, looking for greener pastures. Rathore is one of them.”

Rathore did not comment on the meeting.