Azam Khan’s close aide quits SP, joins BJP

LUCKNOW : Samajwadi Party MLC and Azam Khan’s close aide Sarojni Agarwal on Friday resigned from the party and joined the BJP in the presence of Rita Bahuguna Joshi and Mahendra Singh — both ministers in the Aditya Nath Yogi government.

“I was with Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav) for the past 22 years. But ever since the SP family feud came out in the open and Netaji was sidelined, I was feeling suffocated in the party,” she said soon after quitting the party. “The BJP is in power in Uttar Pradesh. I will be able to work more for the people,” Agarwal added.

The development comes as yet another blow to the SP, led by Akhilesh Yadav. Two other SP MLCs — Bukkal Nawab and Yashwant Singh — had quit the party to join the BJP in the last week. They claimed that they were pushed into a corner in the SP.

SP national president Akhilesh Yadav accused the BJP of engineering Agarwal’s resignation. “Patthar pheko, MLC todo (throw a stone and pluck away an MLC),” Akhilesh tweeted.

 The MLC from Meerut was close to SP’s Muslim face Azam Khan. Azam had pushed for her nomination as MLC despite objections from another Muslim leader and former minister in Akhilesh cabinet Shahid Manzoor.