Once a star candidate of Samajwadi Party, actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada on Tuesday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Jaya Prada was officially inducted in the BJP at party headquarter in New Delhi. More than a decade after first winning Rampur, Jaya Prada has returned to the Lok Sabha constituency to challenge Samajwadi Party strongman Azam Khan.
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.
Earlier, just ahead of the 2004 elections, Jaya Prada who had earlier been associated with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), joined the Samajwadi Party. The SP fielded her from Rampur to take Begum Noor Bano which the actor won with a comfortable margin.
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.
Azam Khan became a vocal critic of Jaya Prada after she moved to the Amar Singh camp. In 2009, Azam Khan supporters openly campaigned against the party candidate Jaya Prada. Interestingly, Azam Khan himself had brought Jaya Prada to Rampur for Samajwadi Party.
Meanwhile, 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.