A seventh BJP MLA and backward caste leader Mukesh Verma quit the BJP today as exits continued for the third day from Uttar Pradesh's ruling party less than a month before elections. Mukesh Verma posted his resignation on Twitter and surfaced at the home of Swami Prasad Maurya, who started the exodus.
Mukesh Verma, an MLA from Firozabad in western Uttar Pradesh, is also an OBC (Other Backward Class) leader like Swami Prasad Maurya and four others who have quit the BJP in the last three days.
"Nobody listens to us," Mr Verma told NDTV, refusing to reveal whether he was moving to the Samajwadi Party.
His resignation letter, mirroring all the others before, blamed the party for neglecting backward castes in Uttar Pradesh. But he went a step further by calling Swami Prasad Maurya "the voice of the oppressed" and "our leader" in his letter.
"The BJP government in the past five years did not pay any attention to Dalits, backward castes and minorities and disrespected people's representatives," Mr Verma wrote in his resignation letter.
"The state government has oppressed Dalits, backward castes. Farmers, unemployed youth and small and medium industries. Because of these policies I am quitting the party. Swami Prasad Maurya is the voice of the oppressed and our leader. I am with him," the MLA said.
There are all indications that all 10 MLAs, including three ministers, are heading to the Samajwadi Party of Akhilesh Yadav.
Mr Maurya, believed to be the prime mover in these exits, has yet to confirm his switch to the Samajwadi Party. He said yesterday that he would announce his plans on Friday.
Akhilesh Yadav, however, has been less coy, tweeting photos with the leaders soon after they announced their resignation.
The loss of seven backward caste leaders is a huge blow for the BJP ahead of the election; the party was banking on Mr Maurya and other backward caste leaders to hold up a very important part of its election math.