UP: Akhilesh meets expelled BSP veterans

LUCKNOW: Expelled Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) heavyweights Lalji Verma and Ram Achal Rajbhar called on Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Friday.
The meeting was followed by reports that the two will formally join the SP soon, putting an end to speculations that they may float a separate political entity and enter into an alliance with the SP for 2022 polls.
Highly placed sources said the two would formally join Samajwadi Party at a mega rally where Akhilesh would be the chief guest.
The rally is likely to be held in Ambedkarnagar – the stronghold of the two leaders – in early October.
While Verma is a five-time MLA from Katehari seat, Rajbhar happens to be the MLA from Akbarpur seat — both in Ambedkar Nagar district.
However, Akhilesh Yadav tweeted a photo of the meeting which he described a “courtesy call” by the two leaders.
Once seen as close confidants of BSP chief Mayawati, Lalji Verma was the legislature party leader when he was expelled in June this year along with Ram Achal Rajbhar.
The latter has been the state president, a joint national general secretary of BSP and a minister in the Mayawati cabinet. Both are known for their strong hold over the OBCs in their region.
If sources in SP are to be believed, some more important names associated with the BSP might join SP along with Verma and Rajbhar.
The list of probables include some from the band of BSP legislators led by MLA Aslam Rainee who had earlier mooted the idea of forming a political entity and entering into an alliance with the SP for the 2022 assembly polls.
At least seven expelled BSP MLAs had met Akhilesh within a fortnight of Lalji Verma and Ram Achal Rajbhar’s expulsion on June 3 this year.
The list includes names of Sushma Patel (from Mungra Badshahpur constituency in Jaunpur), Chaudhary Aslam Ali (Dholana in Hapur), Hakim Lal Bind (Handia in Prayagraj), Mohammad Mujtaba Siddiqui (Pratappur, also in Prayagraj), Aslam Raini (Bhinga in Sravasti), Hargovind Bhargava (Sidhauli in Sitapur) and Bandana Singh (Sagdi in Azamgarh).

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