Lucknow, June 15: At least five MLAs suspended by the BSP last year met Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday, triggering speculation that they may join his party. The deputy leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly, Uma Shankar Singh, described the MLAs as "garbage".

"The meeting with Akhilesh Yadav, which lasted for 15-20 minutes, witnessed discussions on the upcoming UP Assembly elections," Mungra Badshahpur MLA Sushma Patel told PTI. When asked about the future course of action, Patel said, "Personally, I have made up my mind to join the Samajwadi Party."

At present, there are 18 BSP MLAs in the 403-member Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly.

When asked what prompted the suspended BSP MLAs to meet Yadav, Patel said, "We were suspended in October 2020 during the Rajya Sabha elections and were categorically told not to use the BSP flag and banner, and also not to attend any party meeting." UP Assembly Elections 2022: All Ministers in Yogi Adityanath’s Government to Camp in Districts in a Damage Control Exercise.

"At the time of the Rajya Sabha elections, neither the BSP issued any whip nor did we indulge in cross-voting. We were suspended without any basis. We were suspended as we had gone to meet Akhilesh Yadav," she added.

"Now, we have to look for alternatives. So, in this context, we had called upon Akhilesh Yadav," she said, adding that now she has nothing to do with the BSP. Others who met the SP chief were Mohd Aslam Raini, Hakimlal Bind, Mujtaba Siddiqui and Hargovind Bhargav.

An SP leader confirmed to PTI that the BSP MLAs met party chief Akhilesh Yadav. In October 2020, seven BSP MLAs were suspended by party president Mayawati. They had opposed the nomination of party's official candidate Ramji Gautam for the elections to the Rajya Sabha. Apart from the five, the two other suspended from the party were Chaudhary Aslam Ali and Vandana Singh.

Earlier this month, Mayawati had expelled BSP's legislative party leader Lalji Verma and Akbarpur MLA Ram Achal Rajbhar. Meanwhile, BSP leader Uma Shankar Singh said the rebel MLAs who met Yadav hold the "stature of garbage". Aslam Raini praised the BJP by reciting the Hanuman Chalisa in the UP Assembly and now he met the SP chief, who opposes the BJP, he told reporters in Ballia.

“Efforts are being made to induct them into the SP. This has exposed the dual face of Akhilesh Yadav," he added. When asked as to what action will be initiated against the rebel MLAs, Singh said, "the BSP had already suspended them. The BSP does not tolerate indiscipline. The BSP does not want to waste its energy by initiating action against them. The BSP is preparing to form the government in UP after the Assembly elections." Singh claimed people will teach a lesson to the rebel BSP MLAs.