In a fresh blow to the Opposition in Uttar Pradesh, three MLCs from the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) resigned on Saturday.The resignations, announced just minutes after BJP national president Amit Shah landed in Lucknow for a three-day organisational visit, fuelled speculations of further political changes.Barely had BJP leaders and workers welcomed Mr. Shah at the airport that Samajwadi Party MLCs Bukkal Nawab and Yashwant Singh individually resigned from their posts, while BSP MLC Thakur Jaiveer Singh also submitted his resignation letter. There were speculations that a third SP MLC, Madhukar Jetley, was also on the verge of resigning but he returned without putting in his papers.The resignations not only dent Opposition morale but are also likely to ensure the smooth entry of senior BJP ministers, including Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his two Deputies Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, into the Legislative Council and thence the Assembly. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, his deputies Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, and two other BJP ministers Mohsin Raza and Swatantra Dev Singh , require to get elected to the State Assembly or Council as they are not members of either House in the State at the moment.They are required to be elected as members of the State Assembly or State Legislative Council within six months in this case by September 2017.There are hints that the Opposition rebels could head to the BJP or support it, as they lavished praise on the party after their resignations. ”I dedicate this seat to UP CM Yogiji,” said Mr. Yashwant Singh, making it clear that he was vacating the seat for Mr. Adityanath.Mr. Singh, a close aide of Thakur leader Raja Bhaiya, used the nationalism plank to justify abandoning the SP, saying he was offended by Mr. Yadav’s recent comments in the House where he glorified China.”Since that day I developed a feeling that it would not be morally right for me to continue in the party whose national president called India weak, and does not have desh prem (patriotism), but love for China,” he said.Mr. Singh, however, told The Hindu that he had not been approached by any BJP leader yet and dismissed the idea that his resignation was timed to sync with Mr. Shah’s visit. But if the BJP came asking, he would not say no. Mr. Bukkal Nawab said he had resigned as he was feeling “suffocated” in the SP over the last one year. Criticising the functioning of the party in recent times, he said the SP reflected an arena more than a party with an organization. “They should not call it the Samajwadi Party but the Samajwadi Akhara,” he said.Interestingly, Mr. Nawab, a Shia leader, heaped praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr. Adityanath for their sabka saath sabka vikaas slogan and and “good work,” respectively.He also said he had no qualms in joining hands with the BJP if such an offer came. “If they invite me, then I will go. All options are open,” Mr Nawab said, who had recently launched the Rashtriya Shia Samaj.He was elected as to the Legislative Council, for his second term last year.Reacting to the developments, SP president Akhilesh Yadav accused the BJP of pressurising Opposition legislators to defect through “political corruption.”Mr. Yadav said the BJP leaders were afraid of fighting direct elections and were seeking a safer route through the Legislative Council.“BJP people can’t muster courage to go to the people. I dare them to go to the people and get elected. But not cheat like you did with the machines [EVM],” Mr. Yadav said, terming the BJP “undemocratic.”BSP chief Mayawati also cried foul and blamed the BJP for misusing power and State machinery to target Opposition parties and their legislators.She said the BJP’s “hunger for power” had now transformed into a “lust.”After Goa and Manipur, and mostly recently in Bihar and Gujarat, the BJP was now trying the same manipulative tactics in UP through misuse of State agencies like CBI and Income Tax department to run a campaign to paint its opponents as corrupt, Ms. Mayawati alleged.She urged Opposition party legislators to not surrender before the BJP but resist its “dictatorial, arrogant and oppressive” stance.”Instead of kneeling before the BJP, they should have have fought back against the terror and oppression of the BJP government,” Ms. Mayawati said.”If you don’t fight back, the BJP will get emboldened as they have now tasted blood,” she said.Mr. Yadav resorted to sarcasm to taunt Nawab, saying not many days had passed since the Shia leader had treated him with sewai on Eid. ” Bahut mithi thi sewai. Abhi Eid gaye kitne din guzre,” the SP chief said.Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya said the resignations were the “personal matter” of the SP leaders.Meanwhile, Mr. Shah addressed a meeting of UP BJP office bearers, including district presidents & legislators, before meeting leaders of the BJP’s allies.His visit to Lucknow is said to clear out the BJP’s next move in the State regarding the strategy of getting its ministers elected to the House.