In a potential development that may add yet another compelling tussle to the ever-growing list of captivating battles to come in the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh, veteran actor Jaya Prada is set to join the BJP and contest against her former party SP in a key seat, as per sources.
Sources add that upon joining the BJP, Prada is likely to be fielded against the Samajwadi party's controversial strongman Azam Khan in the Rampur Lok Sabha constituency which she had represented in Parliament between 2004 and 2014.
Jaya Prada had started her political journey with the TDP before joining the SP with which she won the election to the Rampur Lok Sabha seat. However, after being re-elected in 2009, she was expelled a year later for siding with Amar Singh in an internal party spat. In 2014, she had lost the election to the Bijor seat after contesting as a RLD candidate.
The 2014 election for Uttar Pradesh's Rampur seat had witnessed a thrilling battle as BJP's Dr Nepal Singh emerged victorious against the Samajwadi Party's candidate, Naseer Ahmad Khan, with 3.58 lakh votes versus the latter's 3.35 lakh votes.
Azam Khan will be contesting the Rampur Lok Sabha seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, having held the Rampur Assembly Constituency for almost 33 out of the last 39 years.
The Samajwadi party has allied with its regional rival BSP for the 2019 polls and eschewed another alliance with the Congress having failed to compete with the BJP in the 2017 UP elections.
The Samajwadi Party and BSP will be attempting to mount a serious counter to the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls having been decimated five years earlier as the SP managed to win just five seats and the BSP, zero. The BJP, on the other hand, won an extraordinary 71 seats which went a long way towards securing a historic country-wide mandate.