Ex PM Chandra Shekhar's son Neeraj Shekhar joins BJP

Neeraj Shekhar (File Photo)

A day after resigning from Rajya Sabha and Samajwadi Party (SP), former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar's son Neeraj Shekhar on Tuesday joined the BJP, saying he could never move forward in SP in the "current situation".

Neeraj Shekhar, who joined the saffron party in the presence of its general secretaries Bhupendra Yadav and Anil Jain, said he was joining the BJP in the "wider national interest" as it was better to work under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister and party chief Amit Shah.

Amid news Neeraj Shekhar's joining the party, there was strong buzz in Parliament on Tuesday that two MPs may quit BSP and join the saffron party.

"Netaji (SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav) always supported me. In the current situation, I cannot move forward," he told reporters, hinting at his estranged relationship with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav.

Akhilesh denied Neeraj's attempts to fight the Lok Sabha elections from the Ballia seat, which his father had represented.

Neeraj Shekhar, whose Rajya Sabha term was to end in November 2020, said Railways minister Piyush Goyal and senior BJP leaders Bhupinder Yadav and Anil Baluni were instrumental in his joining the party.

Asked about Chandra Shekhar's politics, he said his father was never anti-RSS. "I am a socialist. I will remain a socialist in BJP. My father was never anti-RSS," he said.

Recalling his meeting with Modi, he said the Prime Minister told him that he was meeting him on 'Gurpurnima'. "He (Modi) told me Chandra Shekhar used to call A B Vajpayee 'Guru' and it is apt that I joined the party on this auspicious day," he said.

Earlier in the day in Rajya Sabha, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu announced Neeraj Shekhar's resignation and said, "I made inquiries (with Shekhar) of the resignation being voluntary and genuine and having satisfied I have accepted the resignation with effect from July 15," Naidu said.

Meanwhile, BJP also appointed presidents for its state units in Maharashtra and UP. OBC leader Swatantra Dev Singh and Maratha leader Chandrakant Patil were appointed as presidents of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra respectively.

Singh replaces Mahendra Nath Pandey and Chandrakant Patil comes in the place of Raosaheb Danve Patil. Pandey and Danve Patil have become Union Ministers.

The party also announced the appointment of Mangal Prabhat Lodha as its Mumbai unit chief, replacing Ashish Shelar, who was recently inducted in the BJP government in Maharashtra.

The BJP is likely to soon announce its president for Bihar unit as the incumbent chief Nityanad Rai has also been inducted as a Union minister.

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