- Aparna Yadav is the wife of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav's brother Pratik Yadav
- Reports say that BJP could field Aparna Yadav from Lucknow Cantt seat
- For the BJP, Aparna's entry is seen as a big acquisition that could dent SP's prospects in polls
In a big blow to the Samajwadi Party ahead of the upcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Aparna Yadav, daughter-in-law of former state chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday.
She joined the party in the presence of Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and its state chief Swatantra Dev Singh.
Aparna Yadav said she has always been impressed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and added that the nation's interest has always been her priority.
"I have always been inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi," Aparna Yadav said. "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," she added.
There had been much speculation about her joining the BJP, and the development highlights the rift in the SP's ruling family at a time when Akhilesh Yadav has been working to rally the party's base in the run up to the state assembly polls. According to the sources, Aparna Yadav has sought a ticket from the Lucknow Cantt assembly seat.
Earlier, commenting on Aparna Yadav's entry into the BJP, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav had said that BJP members are worrying more about his family than about themselves.
Aparna Yadav had in the past lauded some initiatives of the BJP government. She had even donated Rs 11 lakh to the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
Aparna Yadav contested the 2017 assembly elections from Lucknow Cantt seat and finished second. She lost to Bharatiya Janata Party's candidate Rita Bahuguna Joshi and secured about 63,000 votes. Aparna is the wife of Prateek Yadav, son of Mulayam Singh's second wife Sadhna Gupta.
There are many contenders for Lucknow Cantt seat in the BJP. Apart from Deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma, Rita Bahuguna Joshi is also seeking a ticket for her son from the seat.
Elections to the 403 assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh will be held in seven phases starting February 10. The polling in Uttar Pradesh will be held on February 10, 14, 20, 23, 27, and March 3 and 7 in seven phases. The counting of votes will take place on March 10.