Aparna Yadav is a big acquisition for the BJP after it lost many of its OBC leaders to Akhilesh Yadav.
Akhilesh Yadav, reacting to his relative Aparna Yadav switching to the BJP just weeks before the Uttar Pradesh election, said on Wednesday that he hoped she "carries our ideology to the BJP".
The Samajwadi Party chief, using his trademark humour to tackle a defection that also brings family drama, "thanked" the BJP and hinted that he had scored a better bargain in the tit-for-tat defections.
"I want to thank the BJP that they are giving tickets to those who even we are unable to give tickets to," Akhilesh Yadav quipped.
Aparna Yadav is the wife of Akhilesh Yadav's half-brother Prateek Yadav, the younger son of Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav.
She had contested the 2017 Uttar Pradesh election as a Samajwadi Party candidate but had lost to Rita Bahuguna, who had crossed over from the Congress to the BJP.
"I want to congratulate her and I am happy that the Samajwadi Party's ideology is spreading. I am sure our ideology will reach there and spread democracy," said Akhilesh Yadav.
He revealed, however, that his father tried to talk Aparna Yadav out of breaking ranks.
"Netaji tried his best to counsel her. Tickets are dependent on our internal surveys, on a lot of things," Mr Yadav said, hinting that she had been upset at being denied a seat to contest the polls.
Aparna Yadav is a big acquisition for the BJP after it lost many of its backward caste leaders, including three state ministers, to Akhilesh Yadav last week.
But Akhilesh Yadav suggested that he has gained far more political heft compared to Wednesday's loss.
"We have brought people who have a mass base into the Samajwadi Party. The Samajwadi Party is set to form the government," Mr Yadav said.
He was asked about his sister-in-law saying she had now gone to a "nationalistic party".
"I have gone to a military school myself, a central government school. The people with me - many of them are protecting our borders now. Many of my seniors have had illustrious military careers. Can the BJP's top leadership give one instance of even one of their classmates being in the army? What is the definition of nationalism? Did we not build an expressway where Air Force jets have landed?" the former Chief Minister replied.