In a major jolt to Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), its senior leader Swami Prasad Maurya quit the party on Wednesday, saying he felt “suffocated” and accused its chief Mayawati of “auctioning” tickets for next year’s Assembly polls.

Mr. Maurya, who is the Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly, left the BSP amid speculation that he might join the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) and could be made a minister when Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav expands his Council of Ministers on June 27.

“I feel suffocated and cannot continue in the party any more,” he said at a hurriedly-convened press conference in Lucknow.

“Tickets are being openly auctioned by Mayawati on a large scale. She is not making the right choice of candidates. Tickets are not only on sale in the party, they are being auctioned,” he added.