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Battle for UP: BJP MLA Avatar Singh Bhadana quits, joins RLD

New Delhi, Jan 12 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party has got a big jolt in western Uttar Pradesh ahead of the Assembly polls in the state. BJP MLA Avtar Singh Bhadana quit the party and joined the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) in presence of party chief Jayant Chaudhary in Delhi on Wednesday.

Bhadana is likely to contest on RLD ticket from the Jewar seat of Gautam Buddha Nagar, which is a Gurjar dominated area.

After the announcement of the Assembly election schedule, a number of BJP leaders have left the party.

Bhadana is currently MLA from Meerapur seat of Muzaffarnagar. In Delhi, he met Jayant Chaudhary on Wednesday, after which he formally joined the RLD.

Swami Prasad Maurya, who was in the Yogi cabinet, had resigned from the BJP on Tuesday and joined the Samajwadi Party (SP) along with other party MLAs.

RLD President Jayant Chaudhary tweeted that Bhadana has been formally inducted into the RLD and given the membership of the party.

Bhadana, who came to BJP from Congress just ahead of the 2017 elections, is known as one of the top leaders of Gurjar community. He won the Meerut-Mawana Lok Sabha seat in 1999 on Congress ticket. He had defeated the SP candidate in 2017 Assembly elections by a margin of just 193 votes.

In spite of being a senior leader, he was not given a place in the Yogi cabinet, he claimed.