Naresh Agrawal regrets comments on Jaya Bachchan, but brickbats fly

Sushma Swaraj Welcomes Naresh Agarwal in BJP Slams Him Over His Statement on Jaya Bachchan

In his initiation ceremony at the BJP headquarters, Naresh Agrawal yesterday said that he was humiliated by the SP as he lost the Rajya Sabha election ticket to veteran actor Jaya Bachchan.

New BJP entrant Naresh Agrawal today apologised for his comments on Jaya Bachchan, but that did little to quell the outrage with Union minister Harsimrat Kumar Badal and BJP MP Rupa Ganguly amongst others taking up feminist cudgels on the actor-politician's behalf.

Agarwal said he was being neglected in the SP and was hurt when instead of him, the party gave the ticket to Jaya Bachchan "who used to dance in films'".

His comments invited strong criticism from BJP leaders, including Sushma Swaraj, who said they were "improper and unacceptable". The Shivpal Yadav camp was likely to break ranks with the Opposition by backing the saffron party, an SP leader said on Tuesday.

Members across party lines congratulated Ms. Bachchan for her renomination to the upper house and also condemned Mr. Agarwal's comments.

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"For somebody who used to work in films, I was denied a ticket (for Rajya Sabha)".

The BJP is believed to have allowed him entry to get the vote of his MLA son Nitin Agrawal and some other Samajwadi MLAs in the Rajya Sabha elections on March 23.

Agrawal's house had been attacked by suspected BJP workers over certain comments and he had alleged a threat to his life.

Her third term comes to an end on April 3.

Naresh Agrawal was also criticised by his former boss and Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav, with whom he was very close once. "I haven't taken it kindly", Agarwal said. "The party made a decision to avoid all that, especially when it is still at loggerheads with the BJP at the centre and state", said a senior TDP leader, who was unwilling to be identified. With ace manipulator Naresh Agarwal on its side, the next ten days in Lucknow may witness hectic political maneuverings and exchange of money-bags in five star hotels in the state capital.

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