Senior Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agrawal on Monday joined the BJP in presence of Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal. He was reportedly unhappy over being denied a Rajya Sabha ticket by his former party, which has preferred to nominate actor Jaya Bachchan over him.
Also joining the BJP is his son and an SP MLA, Nitin Agrawal.
Samajwadi Party has 43 MLAs in the current Uttar Pradesh assembly and can only send one candidate to the Upper House of the parliament.
In July last year, Agrawal had courted controversy for his insulting remarks for Hindu Gods. Reacting to his comments, the leader of the House in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, had said, “He (Agrawal) has linked up each of the Hindu Gods with brands of alcohol. If he had said this outside, he would have been liable to prosecution. You have not realised the gravity of what you have said. Do you have the audacity to say about other Gods?”
In November 2013, Agrawal had called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a madari, a street performer. He had said, “Narendra Modi wants to become a PM. Someone rising from a tea shop can never have a national perspective. Like, if you appoint a ‘sipahi’ (constable) as ‘kaptan’ (superintendent of police), he will not have the approach of a SP but a constable only….Even street performers manage to gather crowd but they disperse the moment the performance ends.”
Soon after the Gujarat assembly elections last year, Agrawal had questioned the ‘narrow’ thinking of the BJP by asking if the saffron party will now question people’s ‘suhaag raat (first night for the couple as husband and wife).’ He was reacting to questions being raised on Congress President Gandhi’s decision to watch a movie even in the aftermath of his party’s defeat in Gujarat.
Agrawal was with the Congress until 1989, but served as a minister in three successive BJP governments of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, led by Kalyan Singh, Ram Prakash Gupta and Rajnath Singh.