BJP MLA from Meerapur constituency in Muzaffarnagar Avtar Singh Bhadana on Tuesday switched to the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD).
A prominent Gurjar leader, Mr. Bhadana met RLD president Jayant Singh, who welcomed the four-time MP into the party fold through a tweet.
His switch was imminent as he had been actively tweeting in support of the farmers’ agitation. He was also active in organising Gurjar panchayats in the region after the Raja Mihir Bhoj statue controversy in Dadri town of Gautam Buddha Nagar.
Mr. Bhadana has represented Faridabad and Meerut Lok Sabha constituencies in the past. He has been with the Congress and Indian National Lok Dal and switched to the BJP in 2016.
He said he hailed from a farmer’s family and liked the pro-farmer agenda of the RLD.
Meerapur is one of the Muslim-dominated constituencies that BJP won in 2017. Observers said Mr. Bhadana was brought in by the BJP to create the Jat-Gurjar combination after the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013. In a closely contested election, Mr. Bhadana had edged past Liyaqat Ali of Samajwadi Party by just 193 votes. Nawazish Alam of the Bahujan Samaj Party had secured more than 39,000 votes.