Ahead of the first-phase polling in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP MLA from Agra's Fatehabad constituency, Jitendra Verma, resigned from the party and said that he has joined the Samajwadi Party.
Verma's name did not figure in the list of candidates released by the BJP for the first phase of elections. He was replaced by Chhotelal Verma.
In his two-line resignation letter sent to Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh, Verma wrote, "I am resigning from the primary membership of the BJP. Kindly accept it."
Speaking to PTI, he said, "There are many reasons why I left the BJP. Even 15 days after I was denied ticket, the party leadership did not talk to me. I have joined the Samajwadi Party and I will not contest this election."
He claimed that BJP workers and MLAs have no say in the party.
"If you are not able to provide fertiliser to a farmer, what are you an MLA for? Not only me, a number of MLAs will be leaving the BJP," he said.
Earlier, Uttar Pradesh ministers Swami Prasad Maurya, Dara Singh Chauhan and Dharam Singh Saini had tendered their resignations and joined the Samajwadi Party.
A number of other legislators have also quit the party recently. They are Brijesh Prajapati (Tindwari in Banda), Roshanlal Verma (Tilhar in Shahjahanpur), Bhagwati Prasad Sagar (Bilhaur in Kanpur Nagar), Vinay Shakya (Bidhuna in Auraiya), Digvijay Narayan alias Jai Chaube (Khalilabad) Madhuri Verma (Nanpara in Bahraich) and Rakesh Rathore (Sitapur).
In the first of the seven phases, polling will be held in 58 assembly constituencies spread over 11 districts on February 10.
The districts which are going to poll in the first phase are Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Hapur, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Mathura and Agra.
The final-phase polling will be on March 7 and the results will be declared on March 10.