Battle for UP: Most turncoats left out in the cold

Party hopping before or during elections is a common feature in Uttar Pradesh, but not all leaders are fortunate enough to get a bigger and more visible role in the new party.

Majority of these leaders are now left with no option but to campaign for other candidates.

The luckiest defector in this scenario has been former Union Minister Jitin Prasada, who joined the BJP, months before the polls, got a seat in the Vidhan parishad and was then inducted into the Yogi Adityanath ministry.

Initially, touted as the new Brahmin face of the BJP in the state, Prasada is now restricted to campaigning for the party in and around his home district Shahjahanpur.

Former Union Minister R.P.N. Singh, who joined the BJP in the midst of elections, is another defector who is not contesting the elections.

Singh is also not seen campaigning for the BJP outside his home district Kushinagar.

The biggest example of a defector being left out in the cold is Aparna Yadav, the younger daughter-in-law of Mulayam Singh Yadav, who left her Samajwadi Party to join the BJP in January.

A claimant for the Lucknow Cantt Assembly seat, Aparna was not given the ticket. Though she put up a brave front saying that the party’s decision was best, sources said that she was sorely disappointed at being denied a ticket.

Aparna is now campaigning for the BJP and has ruffled a number of feathers in her family with statements against the Samajwadi Party.

A senior BJP functionary, meanwhile, said, “In most cases, those who come in from other parties are given a cooling period before being given opportunity to contest elections. It is only in some exceptional cases that tickets are given to those who join the party. Besides, for those who join the BJP, contesting elections is not necessarily a priority.”

In the Samajwadi Party too, a similar situation is seen.

BJP MLA Rakesh Rathore, who joined the SP just before elections, was not given a ticket to contest his Sitapur seat.

Imran Masood, a senior Congress leader, was also left out in the cold after he joined the SP.

Masood was later pacified and asked to campaign for the party.

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