SP leader Naresh Agarwal joins BJP

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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. "He is welcome. However, his comments regarding Jaya Bachhanji are improper and unacceptable", Sushma Swaraj tweeted.

He was referring to the nomination of film actor Jaya Bachchan by the Samajwadi Party for a Rajya Sabha seat from Uttar Pradesh in the coming biennial elections, ignoring Agrawal's claim. Instead the party made a decision to re-nominate Ms Bachchan who also retires on April 2.

While joining the BJP, Mr Agrawal commented that he was upset at SP giving preference over him to "someone (Ms Bachchan) who dances in films". The SP has only 47 votes and it can only send one leader to Parliament.

"Naresh Agrawal believes he can serve the country and Uttar Pradesh as part of the BJP", said Goyal. He joined the party in presence of Railways and Coal minister Piyush Goyal at the BJP headquarters.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, however, immediately distanced his party from Agrawal's remarks, saying his party respects people from all fields and welcomed them in politics.

His remarks in the House mocking Hindu gods had sparked an uproar previous year.

After filing nomination, she said, "I want to thank Mulayam Singh Yadavji, all party MLAs and MLCs for my candidature".

The BJP today fielded 11 candidates for the 10 Rajya Sabha seats in UP to make a contest of it. We have always welcomed leaders from Samajwadi Party with open arms since these are 2 very like-minded parties. The party, after its landslide victory in assembly elections past year, will win eight seats easily and will have some votes to spare. Naresh Agrawal was a prominent Samajwadi Party leader who has represented Hardoi constituency seven times.