Former SP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia joins BJP, lauds PM Modi's vision

New Delhi [India], Apr. 2 (ANI): In what may come as a major disappointment to the Samajwadi Party especially after its dismal show in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections last month, former party spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia on Sunday officially joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Soon after joining the BJP, Bhatia showered praises on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.

He said that Prime Minister Modi has given a new vision to this country.

"Amit Shah's able leadership motivated me to take the step. He told me that the elections might come and go, but I should join the party," Bhatia said.

"I gave so many years to the Samajwadi Party, but now when the 'samajwaad' (socialism) has gone missing there, I decided to move on," he added.

Bhatia resigned from the post of national president legal wing and all other posts in the Samajwadi Party just five days before the assembly elections in the state.

Bhatia had earlier told ANI that he did not want to reveal as to why he took this decision. He, however, added that he had forwarded his resignation to party patriarch Mulayam Yadav and then Akhilesh Yadav.

Bhatia, who was an active member of the Samajwadi Party for more than a decade, had mentioned in his Facebook post earlier that it had become hard for him to continue serving the party when it was compromising the very principles of democracy, secularism and socialism that he had always believed in.

Bhatia, who is a senior lawyer and currently holds the position of general secretary of the Supreme Court Bar Association, had also asserted that his decision was firmly entrenched in his principles of democracy and socialism.

The rift between Bhatia and the Samajwadi Party top brass developed after he was removed from the post of Additional Advocate General (AAG) in March 2016.

Bhatia's resignation was followed by a series of resignations of other lawyers from the party.

At the onset of the assembly polls last month, the then ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh did everything possible, including a pre-poll alliance with the Congress, to win back the trust of the people. But the people sided with the BJP resulting in the saffron party's astounding victory with 325 seats in the 403-member assembly.

This perpetuated into an exodus of members from the Samajwadi Party and the Congress, which benefitted the BJP the most as several leaders joined the saffron party fold.

Last month, former Congress leader and senior politician S.M. Krishna joined the BJP citing ideological differences with the party leadership. (ANI)