Day after Resigning from Rajya Sabha as Samajwadi Party MP, Neeraj Shekhar Joins BJP

Day after Resigning from Rajya Sabha as Samajwadi Party MP, Neeraj Shekhar Joins BJP

Lucknow: In what may be termed as a major jolt to the Samajwadi Party in the ‘Purvanchal’ region of the state, son of former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar and SP Rajya Sabha MP Neeraj Shekhar joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday. He met Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier in the day.

He said in Delhi, “I am formally joining the BJP today as I thought that it was not possible to continue working in the party with which I was associated. I wish to contribute towards nation-building and that is why I am joining the BJP.”

He had paid a visit to Union Home Minister and BJP president Amit Shah on Monday, after resigning from the SP and giving up his Rajya Sabha membership.

The development came as a major setback to the SP that is yet to recover from the shock of the Lok Sabha poll outcome, even as it served as a further boost to the saffron camp which is on an expansion mode across the country.

Shekhar, a first-time Rajya Sabha MP was considered quite close to SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and a strong Thakur community leader. A two-time Lok Sabha MP, Shekhar, 50, was first elected to the Lower House in a by-election in Ballia in 2007 after his father’s death. He retained the seat in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

Following his defeat in the 2014 parliamentary polls, the SP nominated him to the Rajya Sabha and his term was to expire in November 2020. Sources said a spat over ticket distribution during the recent general elections with Yadav may have led Shekhar to decide on switching camps.

Speculations are rife he may be given a ministerial berth in the Modi cabinet or may be sent to Upper House again on a BJP ticket.

Earlier in the day, Vice President and RS Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said he had accepted Shekhar’s resignation after being satisfied that the same was voluntary and genuine. With the latest defection, the tally of Samajwadi Party MPs came down to 12 in the House of 240 seats.