Gupta would be contesting election from his home turf Banda on SP ticket.
Sources in BJP said they were expecting this as the party is mulling to bring its former three-time Allahabad MP Murli Manohar Joshi back to his seat. Joshi is sitting MP from Kanpur.
“I had always been a committed worker of the party. I opted to leave the party and join Akhilesh for development of UP and will be contesting from Banda,” said Gupta.
Gupta, a business baron who has interests as diversified as beedi, hospitality and ancillary units, was also in talks with Congress. His tryst with SP is not new as he had contested 1999 Lok Sabha elections from Banda on the party ticket but had lost to Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate. He, won again from Banda in 2004, but lost in 2009.
Gupta has been a prominent Baniya leader in eastern Uttar Pradesh and his win against SP’s Rewati Raman Singh in 2014 on BJP ticket was seen as a big boost for the saffron party in the holy city.
However, his fortunes in BJP ran into rough weather after party began grooming local leaders hailing from Allahabad like Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Sidarth Nath Singh and Nand Gopal Nandi, all of whom became cabinet ministers in the state.