Senior BJP leader and Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on Monday condemned as "improper and unacceptable" Rajya Sabha member Naresh Agrawal's comment on former Samajwadi Party colleague Jaya Bachchan at the time of quitting the latter party.
Kiranmayee Nanda, Darshan Singh Yadav, Agarwal, Bachchan, Saleem and Alok Tiwari are the six Rajya Sabha MPs of the Samajwadi Party who are retiring. Instead the party chose to re-nominate Ms Bachchan who also retires on April 2.
"Naresh Agrawal believes he can serve the country and Uttar Pradesh as part of the BJP", said Goyal. Agrawal joined BJP in presence of Union Minister Piyush Goyal at BJP headquarters in Delhi.
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BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra immediately distanced his party from Mr Agrawal's remarks, saying the BJP respects people from all fields and welcomes them in politics.
Naresh Agrawal is known to make controversial comments, including one that mocked Hindu gods and which created an uproar in parliament a year ago. We will do seva for the BJP.
Apart from that, he has also been a minister in the BJP government during Rajnath Singh's tenure as Uttar Pradesh CM. "I will vote for BJP in Rajya Sabha and I thank PM Modi for showing faith on me".
Naresh Agarwal is not the first Samajwadi Party leader to head to BJP. The entry of Aggarwal into BJP put the leadership in an overdrive and the party fielded three more candidates in the state to ensure that it wins all the 10 RS seat from UP - that is beyond its entitled number of eight. The party, after its landslide victory in assembly elections previous year, will win eight seats easily and will have some votes to spare.