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Neeraj quits BJP to join SP

FAILING TO get nominated by the BJP for the mayoral election in Kanpur, former party MLA Neeraj Chaturvedi joined the Samajwadi Party today to become its candidate.

india Updated: Oct 06, 2006 01:53 IST

In fray for Kanpur mayor’s post

FAILING TO get nominated by the BJP for the mayoral election in Kanpur, former party MLA Neeraj Chaturvedi joined the Samajwadi Party today to become its candidate.

Announcing his entry into the party, SP general secretary and PWD Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav said it would further strengthen the party in Kanpur. Yadav said the party had now decided to field Lilawati Sonkar from Meerut in place of Khurshida Ansari whose name was announced earlier.

ST Hasan is the SP’s mayoral candidate from Moradabad.

Till late Wednesday night, there was a massive tussle between Neeraj Chaturvedi and former BJP MP Shyam Behari Mishra for the BJP ticket to contest for the mayor’s seat. Ignoring both leaders, the party  finally announced Ravindra Patni as the candidate, so Chaturvedi rushed to SP general secretary Surendra Mohan Agarwal to seek entry into the party. The SP, in the absence of a proper candidate to face the resurgent Congress in Kanpur, quickly agreed to nominate him for the mayor’s election.

However, Chaturvedi’s candidature is bound to create fissures in the SP unit in Kanpur, where several prominent leaders, including Shailendra Gupta, Some Chand Gupta, Pramod Jaiswal and Mahtab Alam had been trying for the ticket.

But Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav agreed to the proposal of Agarwal to nominate Chaturvedi.

Kanpur mayor’s election has assumed significance because of the direct involvement of Union Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal. Three-time BJP MLA from Generalganj constituency in Kanpur, Chaturvedi was considered a rabble-rouser in the saffron brigade. Chaturvedi, who had joined the BJP in 1988, told newsmen here that the BJP leaders were dishonest in dealing with the party affairs in Kanpur.

Giving full credit to Surendra Mohan for his entry into the SP, Chaturvedi said though he had been trying to strengthen the BJP, he was left with no option but to leave the party after being denied the ticket. Agarwal, who had declined to join the fray, said the party “imported” the candidate to ensure victory in the prestigious election.

Congress candidate Anil Sharma had defeated Agarwal in the mayoral election in 2000. Agarwal is now preparing to contest the assembly election from Generalganj constituency.