Annoyed at being denied a ticket for the upcoming Lok Sabha election, Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Hardoi Anshul Verma on Wednesday quit the party and joined the Samajwadi Party.
The episode, however, stood out for the manner of the resignation. Mr. Verma handed over his letter to the chowkidar (watchman) at the BJP State headquarters in Lucknow.
The Dalit MP — Hardoi is a reserved constituency — also handed over a day’s wage to the chowkidar, as he taunted the BJP over its chowkidar campaign led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Addressing the media, Mr. Verma said the BJP may also have penalised him for not writing chowkidar on his social media wall.
“Vikas kiya hai vikas karenge, chowkidar nahi Anshul hi bane rahenge (I have done development and will continue to do so. I will remain Anshul and not become a chowkidar),” said Mr. Verma.
In 2014, Mr. Verma won the Hardoi seat in central U.P. after securing 3.60 lakh votes against 2.79 lakh by the BSP. However, in the first list of candidates released by the BJP last week, he found himself among the six sitting MPs who have been replaced, apparently for not performing up to the mark.
Linking it to their caste identity, as four of the six MPs replaced were Dalits, Mr. Verma asked: “Are only MPs from the Dalit society niskriya (sluggish)?”
The BJP has field Jai Prakash Rawat from Hardoi this time. Mr. Rawat, a Pasi like Mr. Verma, is a former four-time MP from Hardoi and Mohanlalganj.
Explaining reasons for quitting the BJP, Mr. Verma said he was hurt after being denied a ticket and no responsible leader saw it fit to talk to him or give him an appointment.
He said he was disappointed after the party did not act on his complaint on distribution of liquor to people who attended a Pasi Sammelan organised at a temple in Hardoi in January by BJP leader Naresh Agarwal and his son Nitin.