BSP MP Joins BJP After Party Doesn’t Need Me Note, Mayawati Responds

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This morning, Ritesh Pandey shared his resignation letter on X

New Delhi:

In another big ticket switchover ahead of the general election, Lok Sabha MP Ritesh Pandey quit the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party today and has joined the BJP. The 42-year-old represents the Ambedkar Nagar parliamentary seat in Uttar Pradesh. His father Rakesh Pandey is a Samajwadi Party MLA in Uttar Pradesh Assembly.

Addressing the media after joining BJP, Mr Pandey said he was inspired by Prime Minister Modi’s vision of a developed India and had joined the BJP to work towards this goal. 

This morning, Mr Pandey shared on X the resignation letter he had sent to BSP chief and former Chief Minister Mayawati. The letter thanks her for giving him the opportunity to represent the party in Lok Sabha. “I received your guidance from the moment I entered public life through BSP. The party’s grassroots workers handheld me as I learnt to walk through the corridors of power,” the letter states.

It then goes on to address the elephant in the room. “For a long time, I am not being called for meetings. I am also not part of leadership discussions. I have tried numerous times to meet you and senior leaders, but to no avail. I have reached a conclusion that the party no longer needs my service and my presence. I am not left with any option other than resigning from the party’s primary membership. The decision to sever ties with the party is emotionally difficult,” he said.

Sources have told NDTV that Mr Pandey was in touch with BJP national general secretary Sunil Bansal. The BJP has reportedly offered to field him from the seat he currently represents.

Shortly after Mr Pandey announced his resignation, BSP chief Mayawati posted a thread on X that is being seen as a response to the MP’s allegations. The BSP, she said, was a “movement” dedicated to the mission of anti-Dalit icon BR Ambedkar. “That’s why this party’s ideology, functioning and selection of candidates is different from other capitalist parties,” she wrote.

In a swipe at the departing MP, she said the party’s MPs must introspect if they looked after the people in their constituency and gave them time. “They must also introspect if they followed the party’s directions,” she said.

“Is it possible to give tickets to Lok Sabha MPs when they roamed around for their selfish goals and remained a part of negative discussions? The party’s interests are paramount,” she said, indicating that Mr Pandey may not have got a BSP poll ticket if he stayed on.

An alumnus of the European Business School in London, Mr Pandey has been a prominent parliamentarian, articulating his party’s positions on various issues after he was elected MP in 2019. Interestingly, his exit from the BSP comes weeks after he joined several other Opposition MPs for a lunch with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Parliament canteen.

Mr Pandey had also shared pictures of the lunch meeting. “It was truly an honour to be invited by the Prime Minister @narendramodi ji for lunch today and learn how he used his insights from the 2001 Bhuj Earthquake to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. What an insightful discussion – thank you for having us over!,” he had said.

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