Aparna Yadav, married to Akhilesh Yadav's brother, joined the BJP today, in a blow to the Samajwadi Party just weeks before the Uttar Pradesh election.
Aparna Yadav is the wife of Akhilesh Yadav's brother Pratik Yadav, the younger son of Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav. BJP leaders, welcoming her to the party, referred to her as "Mulayam Singh's bahu (daughter-in-law)".
"I have always been inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi," Aparna Yadav said, wearing a BJP scarf.
"I now want to try and do better for the country. I have always been very impressed by the schemes of the BJP and I will do my best in the party," she declared.
Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Maurya, by her side, aimed his shots at Akhilesh Yadav.
"I want to welcome her and say that Akhilesh Yadav is unsuccessful in his family as well as politics," Mr Maurya sneered.
He said Aparna Yadav decided to join the BJP after many days of discussion.
It has been a season of crossovers in UP, which will vote in seven phases from February 10 in an election viewed as the semi-final before the 2024 national polls.
For the BJP, it is a big acquisition after many of its backward caste leaders, including three state ministers, recently crossed over to the Samajwadi Party, spoiling its caste calculations as well as optics.
Aparna Yadav contested the 2017 UP election from Lucknow Cantt as a Samajwadi candidate but lost to Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who had quit the Congress then to join the BJP.
The 32-year-old runs an organisation -- bAware -- that works for women's issues and also a shelter for cows in Lucknow. She has been in the news in the past for her effusive praise of PM Modi.
Her meeting with Yogi Adityanath in 2017 and visuals of them at a cow shelter made big headlines. Speculation that she was leaning towards the BJP kept popping up over the years.