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14 candidates for 10 Rajya Sabha seats in UP

Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Agarwal is welcomed by Union Minister Piyush Goyal as he joins BJP at party headquarters in New Delhi

Longtime BJP-baiter in Parliament and outside, SP stalwart Naresh Agarwal defected on Monday to join ranks with once-arch-enemy Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after he was overlooked for Rajya Sabha nomination by SP.

Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj took to Twitter to register her unhappiness with Mr. Agarwal's remark, terming it improper and unacceptable. She wrote, "Shri Naresh Agarwal has joined Bhartiya Janata Party". Instead the party chose to re-nominate Ms Bachchan who also retires on April 2.

Agrawal on Monday had joined the BJP in presence of Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal. After formally joining the saffron party, Agrawal had said, "Films mein kaam karne wali se meri haisiyat kardi gayi, unke naam par humara ticket kataa gaya, maine isko bhi bahut uchit nahi samjha". I did not find it proper. His term in the upper house is coming to an end shortly.

Mr Agarwal further said that his "community" (Baniya-Vaish) had "anyway" been big supporters of the BJP and would therefore be happy to see him in the BJP.

Before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Agarwal, in a controversial dig at Narendra Modi, said that someone who had worked at a tea shop 'can never have a national perspective, ' The Times of India reported.

"I have been reduced to somebody working in films". Making it clear that he was not bargaining for any position in the BJP, Aggarwal said, "I have not put any condition nor am I asking for an RS ticket".

On Monday, Agrawal said: "I am joining the BJP as I think that until you are in a national party, you can not do anything for the society".

He expressed his admiration for prime minister Narendra Modi and UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath.

Agrawal had earlier been with the Loktantrik Congress Party with Jagdambika Pal that allied with the BJP government headed by Kalyan Singh in Uttar Pradesh in 1997. We have always welcomed leaders from Samajwadi Party with open arms since these are 2 very like-minded parties. "Today he is a leader of Modiji's party".