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Naresh Agarwal Joins BJP, Says SP Favoured a 'Bollywood Dance Girl' for Rajya Sabha

The Samajwadi Party has 47 MLAs in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly and can send just one candidate to the upper house. It chose Jaya Bachchan as its candidate.

Qazi Faraz Ahmad | News18.com@qazifarazahmad

Updated:March 12, 2018, 4:54 PM IST
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Naresh Agarwal Joins BJP, Says SP Favoured a 'Bollywood Dance Girl' for Rajya Sabha
Naresh Agarwal was welcomed to the BJP by senior BJP leader and railway minister Piyush Goyal.
Lucknow: Senior Samajwadi Party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Agarwal has defected to the BJP after he was snubbed in favour of Jaya Bachchan for re-entry to the upper house of the parliament in the upcoming elections.

The seven-time MLA from Hardoi constituency, known for his controversial statements, announced that he was joining the BJP at a press conference in New Delhi in the presence of railway minister Piyush Goyal. His son Nitin Agarwal, the current MLA from Hardoi, also joined the BJP.

Addressing a press conference, he said, “I am joining the BJP as I think that until you are in National Party, you cannot do anything for the society. I am also impressed by PM Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and UP CM Yogi. I still respect Mulayam Singh Yadav and Ram Gopal Yadav, but the current scenario in SP where it is doing coalition with Congress and sometimes BSP is very sad.”

He also made yet another controversial remark, this time aimed at Bachchan. "My ticket was denied and it was given to a someone who dances in films. That is even more painful. My son Nitin who is a SP MLA is also joining BJP and will vote for BJP in Rajya Sabha. I would like to thank PM Modi and Amit Shah for showing faith in me.'

The Samajwadi Party has 47 MLAs in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly and can send just one candidate to the upper house. The SP had chosen Bachchan over Agarwal to placate the faction led by SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav’s uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav, who is said to be upset with Agarwal for allegedly “colluding” with the BJP.

Speculation that Agarwal may join the BJP had first surfaced in January after he met home minister Rajnath Singh. The SP leader denied the rumours at the time and alleged that the saffron party was spreading "rumours" for the fear of losing voters among the traders.

The switch by Agarwal can also affect the BSP’s chances of sending its candidate to the Rajya Sabha as it is being speculated that cross voting might take place in favour of the BJP.

Agarwal, who is from Hardoi, had first become an MLA on a Congress ticket in 1980. He had left the Congress in 1989, after which he formed the All India Democratic Party in 1997. Post this he joined BSP before finally joining Samajwadi Party.

Agarwal also held the post of Minister of Tourism in Mulayam Singh Yadav government from 2003 to 2004 and was elected to Rajya Sabha in March 2010. He had resigned in March 2012, but was elected again in the year 2012 on a Samajwadi Party ticket.

He praised the PM Modi’s stewardship of the country on Monday, but just a month ago, he had triggered a row by making remarks about the PM's caste. At a programme organised by traders in Lucknow, Agarwal had said, “Tell them to make laws in favour of the community (Business Community)... Amit Shah is from our community, but Modi is a 'Teli'.”

The casteist remarks had prompted a strong reaction from some members of the audience.

Later, speaking to reporters, Agrawal in an apparent defence of his comments, said, “Every person has a caste, and there is nothing new in this. If any leader is not telling his caste, then public will tell his caste.”

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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