Former Congress MP from Telangana, Ananda Bhaskar Rapolu, and Samajwadi Party MP from Gorakhpur, Praveen Kumar Nishad, joined the BJP on Thursday. Senior BJP leader and Union minister J P Nadda said both the leaders wield considerable influence in their regions, and that they had joined the party due to their faith in the policies of the Narendra Modi government.
Rapolu was associated with the Telangana movement and had quit the Congress last month. The victory of Praveen Kumar Nishad, whose father Sanjay Nishad is the head of Nishad Party, in the Gorakhpur bypoll last year had alarmed the BJP as the seat was considered its bastion, more so of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who had been winning it since 1998.
Leaders of the BJP and the Nishad Party also announced a tie-up for the general elections and it remains to be seen if the latter would be given any seat as Praveen Kumar Nishad will contest on the saffron party's symbol. Sources said he may be fielded from Bhadohi seat. In 2018, Praveen Kumar Nishad had contested on SP ticket.
According to Praveen Kumar Nishad differences had grown as the Samajwadi Party wanted him to contest again on its symbol while he wanted to fight as a Nishad Party candidate. The BJP has also not yet announced its candidate for Gorakhpur, the political turf of Adityanath.
(With inputs from agencies.)