Ahead of the Uttar Pradesh elections, Samajwadi Party ally Om Prakash Rajbhar spoke exclusively to Republic and claimed that 12 UP ministers and 125 BJP MLAs are in touch with the SP.
Stating that the party is confident of defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party in the upcoming polls, OP Rajbhar told Republic, "Half dozen ministers are meeting Akhilesh Yadav and want to leave BJP and join us".
He mentioned that several BJP MLAs visited him over tea and discussed shifting to SP if offered a ticket. He added that the party will take in good candidates who will benefit them in the polls.
Earlier on December 14, Akhilesh Yadav had told Republic Media Network, "People are unhappy with Yogi's governance over the matters including farmers issues and unemployment. People of Uttar Pradesh are looking for a 'Yogya' government and not 'Yogi' government."
EC on Saturday informed that Uttar Pradesh state will vote in 7 phases, between February 10 and March 7. The state's second to sixth rounds of polling are scheduled for February 14, 20, 23, 27, and March 3, respectively. It is also mentioned that the counting of votes and declaration of results is scheduled to happen on March 10.
On January 14, the notification for the first phase will be issued, while January 21 is the last date of filing nominations. And on January 24, nominations will be scrutinized, while the last date to withdraw nominations is January 27.
The remaining phases dates are as follows, January 21, 28, 29 and 31 (round 2); January 25, February 1, 2 and 4 (round 3); January 27, February 3, 4 and 7 (round 4); February 1, 8, 9 and 11 (round 5); February 4, 11, 14 and 16 (round 6); and February 10, 17, 18 and 21 (round 7).
Uttar Pradesh is gearing up for its Assembly elections, scheduled to be held in 2022. By winning 312 Assembly seats, BJP won the 2017 Assembly elections. In the 403-member Assembly, BJP secured a 39.67% vote share. Congress secured only seven seats while Samajwadi Party (SP) and BSP won 47 seats and 19 seats respectively.