In a boost for the Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttar Pradesh, the Nishad Party on Thursday announced an alliance with it and Praveen Nishad, who won the Gorakphur Lok Sabha bypoll last year on a Samajwadi Party ticket, joined the saffron party.
Hours later, SP president Yadav termed it a 'ghaate wala sauda', or loss-making deal, for the BJP and also alleged that money had changed hands.
Praveen, whose father Sanjay Nishad is the head of the Nishad Party, won from Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's home turf after the SP and the Bahujan Samaj Party joined hands there to take on the BJP.
Akhilesh said by inducting Praveen the BJP was entering into a loss-making deal, not realising that the people in Gorakhpur had voted for the SP-BSP alliance and not for the candidate.
In a series of tweets in Hindi, Yadav also mocked the BJP for not coming out yet with its manifesto, asking if it planned to release it only when the polls are over.
'Will the prime minister's 'achhe din' (good times) manifesto come after the elections?' he tweeted in Hindi.
'This time even BJP supporters are not able to say among themselves that 'achhe din' are coming, so how will they say it to the people?' he said.
The SP chief insinuated that Praveen switched over to the BJP in return for a bag of 'prasad' (cash) from the 'mathadheesh' of Gorakhnath temple, referring to Adityanath.
He, however, did not substantiate the allegation.
"Will the Gorakhpur MP who got a bagful of 'prasad' from the 'mathadheesh' distribute it among others or devour it alone?" Yadav said.
"It is certain that the brothers' boat will sink in the elections," he said in an apparent reference to Praveen Nishad and Adityanath.
Ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, the Nishad Party joined the SP-BSP-Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance on March 26. Three days later, it quit.
It was keen to contest on its own symbol this time but Akhilesh Yadav's party apparently wanted it to fight on the SP ticket again.
On Thursday, Praveen Nishad joined the BJP in New Delhi in the presence of Union minister J P Nadda.
Nadda said the Gorakhnath MP had joined the BJP due to his faith in the policies of the Narendra Modi government.
The Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal (Nishad Party) was formed in 2016, claiming to empower Nishads, Kewats, Binds and other communities, whose livelihoods are dependent on the river.
Members of these communities are mostly boatmen or fishermen, and are demanding a Scheduled Caste status.
Nishad Party fielded 100 candidates in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly election in alliance with the Peace Party, the Apna Dal (Krishna Patel faction) and the Jan Adhikar Party.
Its candidate Vijay Mishra won Gyanpur assembly seat in Bhadohi district.