New Delhi | Jagran Politics Desk: In a big blow for Akhilesh Yadav and the Samajwadi Party (SP), Mulayam Singh Yadav's daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday just a month before the beginning of the seven-phased assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

She joined the saffron party in presence of Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya in New Delhi. After joining the BJP, Aparna thanked the party leaders and said that she has always been influenced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"I am very thankful to BJP. The nation always comes first for me. I admire PM Modi's work," Aparna was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Who is Aparna Yadav, the 'chhoti bahu' of Mulayam Singh Yadav?

Aparna is the 'chhoti bahu' of former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav. Aparna, who has a Thakur-Bisht background, is married to Mulayam and his second wife Sadhna Gupta's son Prateek. The two had tied the knot in 2011 and have a daughter.

Aparna's mother Ambi Bisht is an official of the Lucknow Municipal Corporation while her father Arvind Singh Bisht is the state information commissioner of Uttar Pradesh.

Aparna, who is also a qualified classical singer, did her schooling at Lucknow's City Montessori School. She has done her postgraduation in International Relations and Politics from Manchester University in the United Kingdom (UK).

Mulayam's 'chhoti bahu' calls herself an animal lover and runs a non-governmental organisation (NGO) 'bAware' that works for the welfare of animals. She also runs a shelter for cows in Lucknow.

In 2017, she had contested the Uttar Pradesh elections from the Lucknow Cantt seat but lost to BJP's Rita Bahuguna Joshi, now a Lok Sabha member. She had secured nearly 63,000 votes.

On several occasions, Aparna - who has also donated Rs 11 lakh for the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya - has supported the BJP-led government both at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh. She has also lauded PM Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

Contrary to the Samajwadi Party, Aparna, who has also been given Y category security cover by the Yogi Adityanath government, has also extended her support to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and has supported the abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir.

Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh will be held in seven phases beginning from February 10 to March 7. The fate of the candidates will be declared by the election commission of India (ECI) on March 10.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma