In a rather unlikely turn of events, Samajwadi Party (SP) patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday, weeks ahead of the upcoming assembly election in Uttar Pradesh. The crucial switch comes at a time when several leaders of the saffron party have been switching to join the opposition parties, including the SP, in the poll-bound state.
Aparna Yadav is the wife of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s younger son from his second wife and Akhilesh Yadav’s half-brother Prateek Yadav. She earlier contested in the 2017 UP assembly polls representing the Samajwadi Party from the Lucknow Cantonment constituency against BJP candidate Rita Bahuguna Joshi. She lost the election by a margin of 33,796 votes. The former SP candidate joined the serving BJP ahead of the upcoming polls at the BJP national headquarters in Delhi in the presence of Uttar Pradesh’s deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, and the party’s state chief Swatantra Dev Singh.
Stating that her decision to join the BJP was to “fulfil her duties towards the country” to always keep the “nation first”, Aparna Yadav said, “I have always been inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I now want to try and do better for the country. I have always been very impressed by the schemes of the BJP and I will do my best in the party.”
Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya took the opportunity to slam the Samajwadi Party and its supremo Akhilesh Yadav and said, “He has not been able to take care of his family, state or his party nor could he do justice to the state or his Lok Sabha membership. Whenever the BJP government launches a project or a scheme, he claims he had started it. He makes so many claims but can’t even find a seat to contest the assembly election.”
Welcoming the SP patron’s daughter-in-law to the party, BJP state chief Swatantra Dev Singh said, “Because of SP’s lawlessness, no daughter or son or farmer could live in peace in western Uttar Pradesh. If someone would have approached the police, they used to get a call from Mia-jaan. It was Azam Khan who ruled the state then and there was an atmosphere of terror in the region. But under the BJP, the people have seen good governance. Aparna Yadav is influenced by the good governance under the BJP government.”
However, taking a cheeky jibe at Aparna Yadav’s switch to the BJP, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav “thanked” the saffron party and said that he hopes the former SP leader will carry his party’s ideology to the BJP. “I want to thank the BJP that they are giving tickets to those who even we are unable to give tickets to,” said the former chief minister of UP. He added, “I want to congratulate her and I am happy that the Samajwadi Party’s ideology is spreading. I am sure our ideology will reach there and spread democracy.”
Stating that his father and the party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav tried to talk Aparna Yadav out of quitting the party, Akhilesh Yadav said, “Netaji tried his best to counsel her. Tickets are dependent on our internal surveys, on a lot of things.” He further added, “We have brought people who have a mass base into the Samajwadi Party. The Samajwadi Party is set to form the government.”
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Aparna Yadav holds a master’s degree in international relations and politics from the Manchester University in the UK. After losing her first assembly election in 2017, Aparna Yadav was inclined to contest the 2022 assembly polls from the same constituency of Lucknow Cantonment again, however, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav was not keen about it. Aparna Yadav has sought a ticket from the Lucknow Cantonment assembly seat after joining the BJP but the party is yet to reveal from which seat the former SP leader will be contesting in the upcoming election.
In the recent past, Aparna Yadav has been vocal against her home party in public at several instances. Recently, countering Akhilesh Yadav’s comments on COVID-19 vaccination, she said, “I don’t want to link the studies of Indian scientists and doctors to any (political) party. There is no need to make comments on this. A COVID vaccine is for the whole world. India has emerged as a leader and has won the race.” She further added, “I think using such language is an insult to Indian doctors and scientists.” Her reaction came in reply to Akhilesh Yadav’s comment stating, “How can I trust the vaccine, which will be used for vaccination by the BJP? We cannot get vaccinated by the BJP’s vaccine.”