Updated: March 12, 2018 5:18:09 pm
In a major setback to the Samajwadi Party, its senior leader Naresh Agarwal on Monday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — a day after Jaya Bachchan was favoured over him for renomination to the Rajya Sabha. Senior BJP leader Piyush Goyal made the announcement at a press conference in New Delhi. Agarwal’s son, Nitin Agarwal, the sitting SP MLA from Hardoi, also defected to the BJP.
At the press conference, Naresh Agarwal, who has been Hardoi MLA for seven terms, said he was joining the BJP as “until you are in a national party, you cannot do anything for the society”. He also said he was “impressed” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Targeting Bachchan, who is an actor-turned-politician, Agarwal, controversially, said that “it was even more painful that his ticket has been given to a someone who dances in films”.
Bachchan’s renomination the Rajya Sabha took many in the Samajwadi Party by surprise. It was expected the ticket would be offered to someone who could forcefully register the party’s presence in the face of its dwindling strength in Parliament. However, neither Ram Gopal Yadav’s preference Agarwal nor Azam Khan’s preference Munvvar Saleem could secure a nomination.
Kiranmayee Nanda, Darshan Singh Yadav, Agarwal, Bachchan, Saleem and Alok Tiwari are the six Rajya Sabha MPs of the Samajwadi Party who are retiring. The SP has only 47 votes and it can only send one leader to Parliament. The remaining nine additional votes will go the BSP candidate.
Agarwal is known for making controversial statements. In July 2017, he courted controversy in Rajya Sabha by associating Hindu Gods with alcohol, while speaking on mob violence over cow protection. Later, he said he never “meant to hurt anyone”.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.