Nishad Party leader and Gorakhpur Lok Sabha MP Praveen Nishad on Thursday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. The party will support the BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh, reported ANI.

The Nishad Party was earlier a part of the alliance of Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal. It quit the alliance on March 30, following which the Samajwadi Party fielded Ram Bhuwal Nishad, who is also from the Nishad community, from the Gorakhpur seat.

Nishad joined the BJP in the presence of Union minister JP Nadda. “The entrance of the Nishad Party will impact several Lok Sabha seats in eastern, western and central Uttar Pradesh,” Nadda said at a press conference at the BJP headquarters in Delhi.

Former Congress MP from Telangana, Ananda Bhaskar Rapolu, also joined the BJP on Thursday, according to PTI. Nadda said both leaders wield influence in their respective regions and that they had joined the party due to their faith in the policies of the Narendra Modi government.

Praveen Nishad had won the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat in a bye-election on a Samajwadi Party ticket in 2018. Gorakhpur was the constituency of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath before he vacated it.

Nishad Party had wanted to contest on the Maharajganj seat using its own symbol, but the Samajwadi Party reportedly did not approve of this.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav took a jibe at the BJP after Praveen Nishad joined the party. “This is BJP’s loss-making deal as people had voted for the grand alliance [Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samajwadi Party] and not the parliamentarian [Praveen Nishad],” he said on Twitter.

Yadav claimed that Nishad had switched over to the BJP in return for a bag of “prasad” (cash) from the “mathadheesh” (head priest) of the Gorakhnath temple, referring to Chief Minister Adityanath.