- Anshul Verma joined the Samajwadi Party after BJP denied him a ticket
- He had won the 2014 election from the Hardoi seat
- His gesture is loaded amid the BJP's "Main Bhi Chowkidar" campaign
A BJP lawmaker in Uttar Pradesh, not chosen as a candidate for next month's national election, handed over his resignation to the guard, or chowkidar, of the BJP office in Lucknow. The gesture is loaded, at the height of the BJP's "Main Bhi Chowkidar" campaign.
Anshul Verma, 44, won the 2014 election from the Hardoi seat, around 100 km from state capital Lucknow, despite carrying the inconvenient tag of an "outsider".
This time, the BJP refused to name him for the seat, instead choosing Jai Prakash Rawat. Anshul Verma has now joined the Samajwadi Party.
Jai Prakash Rawat was a BJP parliamentarian twice from this seat in the 1990s. Then he joined the Samajwadi Party and won from a different seat in 2004. He returned to the BJP in 2018.
Sources in the BJP say Anshul Verma was seen to be inaccessible to party workers and the people of his constituency.
The former BJP leader denies this. "Vikaas Kiya hai vikaas karenge. Anshul they Anshul hi rahenge ...chowkidaar na kahenge (I worked for development. I will remain Anshul, I won't call myself chowkidaar)," Mr Verma told reporters in a reference to the chowkidar campaign for which BJP leaders changed their Twitter accounts to add the prefix Chowkidar. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the first to do so; the campaign is meant to strike back at Rahul Gandhi and the Congress over their campaign alleging corruption in the Rafale jet deal with the slogan "Chowkidar Chor Hai (the guard is a thief)".
Mr Verma asked the media to film him as he wrote out his resignation letter to BJP chief Amit Shah.
"It was because of me that the party won from Hardoi in 2014, after a long gap of 21 years," Mr Verma wrote in his resignation letter.
"Today it seems the most responsible person is the chowkidar. So I thought, why not hand over the resignation letter to a real chowkidar instead of giving it to those who pretend to be so," Mr Verma said.
The Samajwadi Party has already announced a heavyweight candidate from Hardoi but may be willing the accommodate Mr Verma elsewhere.