UP elections: Mulayam’s daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav joins BJP, praises Modi
Ending days of speculation, Aparna Yadav, the daughter-in-law of Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in Delhi on Wednesday in the presence of Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev, both OBC leaders from the poll-bound state.
“Aparna is welcome in BJP family,” tweeted chief minister Yogi Adityanath.
During the joining ceremony, Yadav praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi, spoke of being drawn to BJP’s “India first” ideology and said she will commit herself to “rashtra ki aradhana” (worship of the nation).
Her entry into the BJP comes within days of the high profile exits of 14 important leaders, mainly OBCs, from the BJP to the Samajwadi Party.
While welcoming her into the party, BJP leaders ensured that Aparna was repeatedly referred to as “adarniya neta Mulayam Singh ji ki putra vadhu (honourable leader Mulayam Singh ji’s daughter-in-law)” to make the point of having won over a key member of the Samajwadi Party’s first family.
In Lucknow, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said ‘netaji’ (Mulayam Singh Yadav) had spoken to Aparna and attempted to stop her from joining BJP, but that he wished her well. The BJP however, wasted little time in targeting him.
“First of all, I would like to congratulate and extend best wishes. I am also happy that our socialist ideology is expanding. I hope that our ideology will reach there and work to save the Constitution and democracy,” the SP president told reporters in his first response on the issue.
Aparna Yadav too refrained from directly attacking her half-brother-in-law and said she would continue to be the “bahu (daughter-in-law)” of the Yadav family. “I will continue to be the bahu of the family and will fulfill all responsibilities,” she said, adding that the BJP leadership would take a call on from where she would contest and regions she may be sent to for campaigning.
However, the BJP played up the family issue.
“Akhileshji is not successful even in his family,” deputy CM Maurya tweeted.
Swatantra Dev said Aparna Yadav joined the BJP as she knew that the party cared about the safety of women.
With a diploma in international relations, Aparna Bisht Yadav is the wife of Prateek Yadav, Mulayam’s son from his second wife Sadhna and is now expected to contest on a BJP ticket, though the seat is still being discussed by party leaders who have assembled in Delhi to discuss candidates.
In 2017, Aparna Yadav contested the elections from Brahmin-dominated Lucknow Cantt seat as a Samajwadi Party candidate but lost to BJP’s Rita Bahuguna Joshi.
OBC communities played a significant role in the BJP’s win in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls and 2017 state elections.
During Aparna Yadav’s induction ceremony, several OBC leaders were present. It is being seen as the party’s outreach to OBCs amidst reports that they were leaning towards the SP.
UP BJP vice president Daya Shankar Singh, who accompanied Aparna Yadav to Delhi, admitted that her induction had been in the works for the last 25 days, a period that coincided with heightened rebel activity within the BJP. After her formal induction, Aparna Yadav met other senior party leaders, including BJP president JP Nadda.
(With PTI inputs)