In a major jolt to the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party, its national general secretary Naresh Agarwal and two sitting legislators from Hardoi joined the Samajwadi Party on Friday.
"I am resigning from the Rajya Sabha and the post of BSP national general secretary," Agarwal said while addressing a gathering at a function at the SP headquarters in Lucknow.
Besides Naresh, his son Nitin Agarwal and Rajeshwari -- both BSP MLAs from Hardoi -- also joined the SP along with a number of supporters, including district panchyat members.
Agarwal's move comes after his son Nitin and Rageshwari were denied tickets for the coming UP assembly elections.
Naresh's term in Rajya Sabha is also expiring in the first week of April. Before joining BSP, Naresh was a cabinet minister in Samajwadi Party government.
He has earlier been in the Congress and Loktantrik Congress.
Welcoming Agarwal into the party fold, SP supremo Mulayum Singh Yadav said that he should be considered a minister in his party's government (in the future) and added that he had always been good to the party.
He announced that Agarwal will not contest the forthcoming assembly elections but work to strengthen the party.
Asking party workers to reach out to masses as only one month is left for the polls; Yadav said that he could not address too many public meetings in the limited time.
"I could not address too many public meetings this time as the time left for polls is not much. I will form a team including Agarwal, Akhilesh Yadav and other leaders for the purpose. I will issue appeals asking the people to vote in favour of the party," he said.
Alleging that the ruling BSP had done nothing for the welfare of the common man, Yadav said that the chief minister was involved in the loot of money and machines were installed to count money gathered from the officers.
"The BSP leaders have made bungalows in Delhi from the money earned from corrupt practices," he claimed and added that the SP was the only option before the people, which was fed up with the misrule of the Mayawati government.
Promising to double the unemployment allowance if voted to power, Yadav said that his government would provide employment to youths and work for the welfare and interest of farmers and traders.
Coining the slogan --"SP jitao, apni sarkar banao" (Ensure SP's victory and form your own government)", Yadav said that this was his only appeal to workers and people.
Trying to woo Muslims, Yadav said that in his previous regime, the maximum number of jobs were given to Muslims and added that his party comprised true well-wishers of the community.