Rajya Sabha member Neeraj Shekhar, who quit the Samajwadi Party and parliament on Monday, joined the BJP today, adding a crucial seat to the ruling party's tally in the upper house.
Neeraj Shekhar, the son of former prime minister Chandra Shekhar, met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah before formally joining the BJP.
As Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu announced his resignation in the upper house today, opposition uproar forced an adjournment.
The 50-year-old Uttar Pradesh politician quit a year before his term was to end. He had been a member of the Rajya Sabha since 2014 and was due to retire on November 25, 2020.
An election will be held for his seat. The BJP, with its huge majority in Uttar Pradesh, can easily win one more seat in the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is in a minority. With 116 members, the NDA is four short of the majority mark in the Rajya Sabha, which means passing crucial legislation is still a challenge. Last week, four of six Telugu Desam Party members joined the BJP.
"I joined the BJP as working with the party where I was in (Samajwadi Party) was getting difficult of late. I believed that I should work under PM Modi and Amit Shah if I want to work for the development of the nation," Neeraj Shekhar told reporters at the BJP headquarters.
Neeraj Shekhar had contested and won from his father's traditional Ballia constituency as a Samajwadi Party candidate in by-polls in 2007 after the former prime minister's death. In 2009, he was re-elected from the constituency. After his defeat in 2014, the Samajwadi Party nominated him to the Rajya Sabha.
His resignation leaves Akhilesh Yadav's party with only nine members in the Rajya Sabha besides five in the Lok Sabha.
Sources say Neeraj Shekhar had been upset with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav for denying him the chance to contest again from Ballia in the recent national election. The Samajwadi fielded a former legislator, Sanatan Pandey, who also lost from Ballia.
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