Aparna Yadav -- the daughter-in-law of Uttar Pradesh's political first family who served up a huge surprise by joining the BJP -- told NDTV today denied the buzz that her reason for switch was denial of a Samajwadi party ticket. "People are telling me that I have come to BJP for ticket... My ticket was not being denied in the Samajwadi Party. I have come to the BJP for nationalism," she told NDTV in an exclusive interview.
"I was influenced by the policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Yogi-ji (Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath)," underscored the 32-year-old, who is married to Mulayam Singh Yadav's younger son Prateek Yadav.
After her defection, her brother in law Akhilesh Yadav -- the biggest challenger of the BJP in the state -- had quipped, "I want to thank the BJP that they are giving tickets to those who even we are unable to give tickets to".
Later, asked if she quit over the denial of the SP ticket, Mr Yadav sidestepped the question. "All the tickets have not yet been distributed. Who has to be given a ticket depends on the region and people as well as the internal survey report of the party," he had said.
Ms Yadav has been in the news earlier for praising PM Modi's development initiatives. Her photo with Yogi Adityanath at a cow shelter ended up in the front pages.
"I did not come to BJP to contest elections. I will campaign for BJP throughout the election," added Ms Yadav, who contested her first election from SP in the 2017 assembly election from the Lucknow Cantonment seat against the BJP's Rita Bahugana Joshi. She had lost by nearly 34,000 votes.
Aparna Yadav is seen as a big acquisition for the BJP ahead of the state polls beginning on February 10. Amid the crossover of several BJP leaders -- among them three ministers – to the Samajwadi Party, her move has marginally improved the optics for the BJP.