Aparna Yadav, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav’s daughter-in-law, will join BJP today, a senior BJP leader claimed Tuesday night. Ms Yadav’s switch to the BJP, if it happens, will be a big blow to the Samajwadi Party just weeks ahead of the state polls.
In what is being seen as a tit-for-tat move after last week’s setback to the ruling party with the exit of three UP ministers and several MLAs to join forces with Akhilesh Yadav, Haryana BJP in-charge Arun Yadav on Tuesday night tweeted in Hindi: “Aparna Yadav, the wife of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s younger son Pratik will join BJP tomorrow in the presence of Yogi Adityanath at 10 am.”
Wife of Prateek Yadav, step-brother of Akhilesh Yadav, Aparna in the 2017 assembly elections had contested from Lucknow Cantt against BJP’s Dr. Rita Bahuguna Joshi and lost by a margin of 33,796 votes. Speaking about her loss, Aparna has in numerous interviews claimed that she was given a ticket by SP in a constituency widely dominated by the BJP. ‘The loss was inevitable,’ she has often said.
Akhilesh Yadav, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s son, has emerged as the key challenger to the ruling BJP in the crucial UP elections. He has also earned the backing of several opposition parties – Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress and Sharad Pawar’s NCP – that are trying to put up an anti-BJP front ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
The speculation about his sister-in-law Aparna Yadav joining the rival party comes just days after the Yogi Adityanath government saw a series of big exits.
Three former UP ministers who were welcomed by Akhilesh Yadav in his party are Swami Prasad Maurya, Dharam Singh Saini, and Dara Singh Chauhan.
Vinay Shakya, Roshan Lal Verma, Mukesh Verma, and Bhagwati Sagar were among the MLAs who also took the same route after the exodus.
Her induction into the BJP could turn the tables for the ruling party, which has suffered many deflections ahead of UP elections that are set to be held in seven phases. The will commence on February 10 and end on March 7.
Ms Yadav has been in the news in the past for praising Prime Minister Modi’s ‘development initiatives’.
The polling for the first four phases will be held on February 10, 14, 20 and 23 respectively, while the remaining three phases will take place on February 27, March 3 and March 7. Meanwhile, the counting of votes and the declaration of results will take place on March 10.
By line: Divya Thearia