Now showing, Jaya Prada vs Azam Khan

New Delhi: The big surprise of the day was actress-turned-former MP Jaya Prada, who got the BJP ticket from Rampur in UP within hours of joining the party. She will be pitted against SP’s loud mouth and former minister Azam Khan.

Incidentally, Khan had once called Prada a “naachne waali” and had even opposed her candidature in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. But as Prada hopped parties for the fifth time and joined the BJP, Khan remarked nonchalantly, without referring to her: “Anybody has the right to join the BJP. It makes no difference to us.

All I am bothered about is the SP-BSP-RLD alliance. And this alliance will win at least 70 seats.” Ironically, Khan was the one who brought Prada to Rampur and helped her win the seat on a Samajwadi Party ticket. She fell out with Azam after she came out in support of former General Secretary of the Samajwadi Party, Amar Singh.

By then, the relationship was so bitter that Khan’s supporters were openly canvassing against Prada. Regardless of the differences, she repeated her triumph in 2009. She did so despite the scorn Khan heaped on her in public, making her cry on stage. At an election rally, Prada was on the stage when Khan, invited to campaign for her, said to the crowd: “The moon looks beautiful from afar but the scars tell which rocket lands on it.

That terrain is rocky, there is no greenery, no life. So, everything that glitters is not the moon or a star.” Prada broke down on the stage. Prada, too, did not hold her punches thereafter and claimed she was harassed by Azam Khan and had received threats from him. “Even as a sitting MP, I wasn’t spared. Azam Khan harassed me.

He attempted an acid attack on me. I had no certainty if I would be alive the next day. I would tell mother while leaving the house that I wasn’t sure if I would ever return home. I emerged out of it,” Prada told reporters last month. Later, in 2010, Prada was expelled along with Amar Singh for antiparty activities. Incidentally, Amar Singh remains outside the BJP.

Tuesday had a good offering for turncoats: Former State Congress President Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who had earlier defected to the BJP, has been fielded from the prestigious Allahabad constituency and former CM Jagdambika Pal, who defected from the Congress in last election, has been re-fielded from Domaniyaganj.

Party sources said the Central Election Committee has now nominated all candidates on the 351 seats the BJP is contesting. The party is holding back its list of candidates for seven seats in Delhi, anxiously waiting for the outcome of the intense talks between the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party.

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