BJP inducts another high-profile name, Jaya Prada joins party
Veteran Bollywood actress and MP Jaya Prada joined BJP on Tuesday and could be fielded from Rampur in Uttar Pradesh. Jaya was an MP from Rampur from 2004-2014. She was a member of Samajwadi Party from 2004 to 2010 but later joined Rashtriya Lok Dal. Notably, Jaya will battle against Azam Khan, if BJP gives her a ticket. Here's more.
Jaya joined the party in the presence of BJP leader Bhupender Yadav. She praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said the country was safe in his hands. Jaya also thanked BJP President Amit Shah for welcoming her to the party.
Jaya started her political career in 1994 by joining TDP but quit over differences with Chandrababu Naidu. She joined SP and was seen as SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's confidante. In 2004, she contested polls from Rampur, with Azam Khan and Amar Singh relentlessly campaigning for her. As a result, Jaya defeated sitting Congress MP Begum Noor Bano by a margin of 85,000 votes.
But five years later, infighting in SP affected Jaya too. As Khan and Singh spewed venom against one another, Jaya chose to side with latter. Subsequently, in 2009, Khan opposed her candidature from Rampur but she was given a ticket, nevertheless. Begum Noor tasted defeat again whereas BJP's Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi lost his deposit. However, in 2010, SP expelled her for "anti-party" activities.
Singh and Jaya floated their own party - Rashtriya Lok Manch in 2011. The new party fielded candidates in 360 of the 403 assembly seats in UP but failed to open an account. In March 2014, Jaya joined RLD. She fought from Bijnor but lost.
BJP is banking on Jaya's connection with Rampur this time. Notably, local BJP leader Akash Kumar Saxena, who was eyeing a ticket from the constituency withdrew his request. "If party leadership reposes faith in her she will win with a huge margin," Saxena said. Speculations hint Singh might also join BJP. Though an official announcement is awaited, he added "Chowkidar" to his Twitter name.