DELHI : Amid the flurry of desertions in Uttar Pradesh BJP, state Ayush Minister Dr Dharam Singh Saini became the third cabinet minister to resign on Thursday, meeting Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav soon after. BJP state spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi confirmed Saini’s resignation. Saini represents the Nakur constituency in Saharanpur district and is a four-time MLA. Twice, he was elected as MLA on a BSP ticket from Sarsawa in Saharanpur district. Saini is the eighth MLA and third minister who has resigned in the last three days. First to go was OBC leader and five-term MLA Swami Prasad Maurya, who resigned on Tuesday as Minister for Labour and Employment in the Yogi cabinet. Then on Wednesday, another senior OBC leader, Dara Singh Chauhan, the minister for Forests, Environment and Animal Husbandry, quit. Both the leaders have indicated they are joining the SP. In his letter to the Governor of UP, Saini wrote that he is resigning as minister because the leaders and people from Dalit and Backward castes communities, farmers, educated unemployed people, and small and mid-level traders have been neglected by the BJP government. Soon after his resignation, Saini met Akhilesh, who tweeted a photograph with the OBC leader and wrote, “With the coming of another champion of social justice Dr Dharam Singh Saini, we have got more power and excitement for our ‘positive and progressive politics’. He is welcome to the SP with respect. In 2022, the victory of inclusivity and harmony is certain.” Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa will be held between February 10 and March 7 in seven phases with the counting of votes on March 10.