Lucknow | Jagran Politics Desk: In a massive setback for Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party (SP) ahead of the upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly elections 2022, Mulayam Singh Yadav's daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday. Aparna joined the saffron party at its headquarters in New Delhi in presence of Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and BJP State president Swatantra Dev Singh.

"I am very thankful to BJP. The nation always comes first for me. I admire PM Modi's work," Aparna Yadav said after joining the BJP. "I have always been very vocal about the policies and ideologies of PM Modi and BJP. Nationalism is a very important aspect of my life. I've always thought of nation before anything."

Also Read - Aparna Yadav, the 'chhoti bahu' of Mulayam Singh Yadav who ditched SP to join BJP | All you need to know about her

According to a report by news agency ANI, Aparna, who is the wife of Mulayam's younger son Prateek Yadav, has sought a ticket from the Lucknow Cantt assembly seat. Aparna had contested the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections from Lucknow Cantt but was defeated by BJP's Rita Bahuguna Joshi. She had secured nearly 63,000 votes.

Aparna's decision to join the BJP is a massive setback for Akhilesh Yadav, whose Samajwadi Party is looking to return to power in Uttar Pradesh.

It should be noted that Aparna, who runs an organisation named bAware, has been lauding BJP's initiatives in the state and had also donated Rs 11 lakh for the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

Meanwhile, elections for the 403 assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh will be held in seve phases - February 10, 14, 20, 23, 27, and March 3 and 7. The counting of votes, on the other hand, will take place on March 10.

In the previous elections in 2017, the BJP - thanks to the 'Modi wave' - had swept the polls and returned to power in Uttar Pradesh after over 18 years with a thumping majority of 312 seats. The Samajwadi Party (SP) had bagged 47 seats, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) won 19 while the Congress could manage to win only seven seats.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma