Expecting to reap rich electoral dividends riding what it claims the “Modi wave”, the BJP suffered a setback in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday when its two senior leaders, including a former union minister, switched loyalty accusing the saffron party of “trading” in the Lok Sabha ticket distribution.
Former union minister Ashok Pradhan, a four time MP from Khurja seat in UP, joined the Samajwadi Party (SP) and was promptly made its national general secretary. Pradhan said that the BJP today has become party of an individual, apparently referring to Narendra Modi.
“The era of Atal and Advani in the BJP has gone....the party has been captured by individuals”, he alleged.
He also charged that the saffron party had ‘shamelessly indulged in trading of LS tickets’. “There are many groups in the BJP.....senior leaders like Jaswant Singh were denied ticket”, Pradhan, who was flanked by SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav told reporters here.
Pradhan is a prominent OBC leader in the central UP region and his departure could cost the BJP dear in the forthcoming polls on the seats there.
Another BJP leader and a three time MLA from Dumeryaganj seat Prem Prakash Tewari alias Jippy Tewari also joined the SP on Tuesday. Tewari, who was an aspirant for the LS ticket from Dumeryanganj was sore with the party for nominating former congress leader Jagadambika Pal from the seat.