Akhilesh Yadav's relative Aparna Yadav, fresh from her headline grabbing switch to the BJP weeks before the Uttar Pradesh election, today tweeted a photo of her meeting with Samajwadi Party founder and her father-in-law Mulayam Singh Yadav in Lucknow.
"Took the blessings of my father/netaji in Lucknow after taking membership of the Bharatiya Janta Party," Aparna Yadav tweeted.
भारतीय जनता पार्टी की सदस्यता लेने के पश्चात लखनऊ आने पर पिताजी/नेताजी से आशीर्वाद लिया। pic.twitter.com/AZrQvKW55U— Aparna Bisht Yadav (@aparnabisht7) January 21, 2022
A BJP supporter tweeted a reply to the photo, saying: "This means even Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav) wants the BJP to win."
Aparna Yadav is married to Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav's half-brother Prateek Yadav, the son of Mulayam Singh Yadav's second wife.
Akhilesh Yadav yesterday brushed aside the defection of his sister-in-law, "thanking the BJP" for reducing the burden of dynasts within his party.
Aparna Yadav was never subtle about her admiration for the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
But Akhilesh Yadav revealed that his father did try to talk her out of crossing over to the rival camp.
"First of all, I would like to congratulate her and extend best wishes. I am also happy that our socialist ideology is expanding. I hope that our ideology will reach there and work to save the constitution and democracy," Mr Yadav said in his first response to Aparna Yadav joining the BJP.
"Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav) tried very hard to convince her," he said when asked if Mulayam Singh Yadav had given his blessings to Aparna Yadav's move.
Mr Yadav also implied that Aparna Yadav had been upset about not being chosen as a Samajwadi Party candidate for next month's Uttar Pradesh election. She had contested in the last election in 2017 and lost to the BJP's Rita Bahuguna Joshi.
The BJP is widely expected to give her a seat to contest. But for the party, getting her on board is more about optics and getting back at Akhilesh Yadav after many prominent backward caste leaders switched to the Samajwadi Party last week.