In riot-singed Uttar Pradesh, a rush to join BJP

NationMany leaders from western UP, along with their supporters, have already joined the BJP following the Muzaffarnagar violence. (Reuters)

Call it polarisation of votes due to the recent riots in western UP or the charisma of prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi , the BJP has now become the most preferred destination for leaders of other political parties including the Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD).

Many leaders from western UP, along with their supporters, have already joined the BJP following the Muzaffarnagar violence and, sources claim, many others have sent feelers to be inducted in the saffron party.

RLD leader Chaudhary Babulal, a former minister in the earlier Mulayam Singh Yadav government, joined the BJP in Ghaziabad Friday. The development could be damaging for the RLD, which is apprehending a dent in its vote bank after the riots in western UP where Babulal enjoys considerable clout in the dominant Jat community.

"After the riots, Jat community has begun leaning towards the BJP. The party should give priority to Jat leaders in western UP," said Babulal, who is seeking a BJP ticket from Mathura to challenge RLD MP Jayant Chaudhary.

Former RLD MLA from Chhaprauli in Baghpat district Chaudhary Gajendra Munna, Baghpat Zila Panchayat member Jagpal Singh and another party leader, Devendra Pawar, also joined the BJP on Friday.

RLD's western UP president and former MP from Bijnor, Munshiram Pal, had switched over to the saffron party on October 6.

A senior BJP leader in western UP said entire RLD Baghpat district unit is seeking to switch sides.

Recently, four-time MLA and minister in the previous BSP government, Omvati, took BJP membership with her husband, retired IAS officer R K Singh, in Lucknow. Omvati was elected Bijnor MP on SP ticket in 1998. A BJP leader said her presence will help the party in Bijnor and adjoining districts in the Lok Sabha polls.

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