Party-hopper Naresh Agarwal switching sides is no surprise

File photo of Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Agarwal with then Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on December 30, 2011 in Lucknow, the day Naresh Aggarwal and his son Nitin Agarwal ditched BSP to join SP, before the UP assembly elections of February, 2012

Naresh Agarwal’s dramatic exit from the Samajwadi Party and instant switch of loyalties to the BJP on March 12 has not surprised anybody who is familiar with the Rajya Sabha member’s past antics

Party-hopper Naresh Agarwal’s dramatic exit from the Samajwadi Party and instant switch of loyalties to the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has not surprised anybody who is familiar with the Rajya Sabha member’s antics.

Even his blatant use of grossly vulgar language for eminent filmstar Jaya Bachchan, who became SP chief Akhilesh Yadav’s preferred choice for nomination to the Rajya Sabha instead of Agarwal, was typical of him. Agarwal was always known for indulging in loose talk about anyone and everyone, more particularly about women.

However, as a master of the art of opportunism, wherever he stood at every such occasion, he was allowed to get away with murder. Even the Samajwadi Party, whose leaders are busy condemning him now, chose to look the other way whenever Naresh Agarwal made any derogatory reference to someone. And surely, such occasions were far too many to be condoned.

He was among those who found nothing wrong with his then political mentor Mulayam Singh Yadav’s much abhorred remark about “boys being boys”, in reference to the spate of rapes in the state. When some political leaders were busy blaming women for inviting molestation on account of their sense of dressing up, Naresh stood up in their support too.

Those familiar with Naresh Agarwal’s entry into politics would remember how he upstaged his own father and usurped the Congress ticket allocated to his father in 1984. Since his father was unwell, Naresh was sent to Delhi to fetch the party ticket from Rajiv Gandhi. But he hit the headlines after he managed to impress upon Gandhi that his father wanted him to contest the election, so the ticket may be changed in his name. Sure enough, he gave a big shock to his father on his return to Hardoi, from where he made his political debut

Not very long ago, when BJP was debating on cow slaughter, he went to the extent of making a sarcastic remark in the Rajya Sabha, “If cow is our mother, then what is bull and also what should we call the calf?”

Significantly, not many eyebrows were raised in the Rajya Sabha when he sought to make a mockery of Hindu gods through his remark, “whisky mein Vishnu aur Rum mein Ram.” As a matter of fact, most members of the house, including those belonging to the BJP, were seen bursting into splits of laughter

BJP may parade him as a prized catch today, perhaps because of his potential to assure them a smooth sail on one more Lok Sabha seat in 2019. But barely a few days back, Naresh Agarwal went to the extent of running down Prime Minister Narendra Modi when someone at a ‘Vaishya Sammelan’ in Lucknow referred to him as a “Vaishya” . While rebuking the speaker, he insisted on describing Modi as a “teli”.

Those familiar with Naresh Agarwal’s entry into politics would remember how he upstaged his own father and usurped the Congress ticket allocated to his father in 1984. Since his father was unwell, Naresh was sent to Delhi to fetch the party ticket from Rajiv Gandhi. But he hit the headlines after he managed to impress upon Gandhi that his father wanted him to contest the election, so the ticket may be changed in his name. Sure enough, he gave a big shock to his father on his return to Hardoi, from where he made his political debut.

Later, in the nineties, he ditched the Congress Party and weaned away a few members to form the Loktantrik Congress Party. He got Jagdambika Pal installed as chief minister, but ditched him in precisely 48 hours, following which Pal was compelled to step down. His next destination was Samajwadi Party, where he stayed only until Mulayam Singh Yadav remained in power. No sooner did the Mulayam government fall, than he crossed over to Bahujan Samaj Party, from where he again staged a comeback to the Samajwadi Party. He remained with SP until yesterday, when Akhilesh Yadav denied him another term in the Rajya Sabha. Now how long he will remain loyal to BJP is anybody’s guess.

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