In a major blow to the Samajwadi Party, Ranjana Bajpai, chief of the SP's women's wing, joined hands with the party's avowed rival Bahujan Samaj Party on Saturday.
The move comes in the wake of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's decision to withdraw her ticket as the party nominee for the Sitapur Lok Sabha seat.
Attributing her decision to the 'neglect of Brahmins in the Samajwadi Party', Bajpai pointedly accused SP general secretary Amar Singh of having "completely hijacked the party."
Addressing a press conference, Bajpai said, "The SP has turned into a private fiefdom of Amar Singh who has reduced the SP from a political outfit to that of film heroes, heroines and moneyed businessmen."
Elaborating on her decision to leave the party, she said, "I have been feeling suffocated in the party for quite some time. Eventually, when they decided to give me a raw deal, I decided to tell them that enough was enough."
Bajpai added, "I really felt humiliated and insulted when I was suddenly replaced as the party candidate, after I had put in so much effort."
"Mulayam has given tickets to only two Brahmins in the entire state," she claimed.
Showering praise on the BSP, she declared, "what has impressed me most about the BSP was that this party gives due respect not only to Brahmins but to other castes as well."
When a scribe asked her if she was now hopeful of getting a BSP ticket, the party's state president Swami Prasad Maurya retorted, "Let me tell you that we have already entrusted her with the coordination of as many as eight parliamentary constituencies; and you must be aware of the importance of coordinators in our party."
He added, "Ranjana Bajpai fully subscribes to the party's ultimate goal to see Behen Mayawati as the country's next prime minister and I am sure she will also make her contribution in that direction."
Bajpai, a Congress member, had switched her loyalties to the SP in July 2002.