Lucknow: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh Shyama Charan Gupta on Saturday resigned from the party and joined Akhilesh Yadav-Samajwadi Party (SP). Gupta will now contest the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections 2019 from Banda on SP ticket.

The development came as a major blow for the BJP hours ahead of its Central Election Committee (CEC) meeting scheduled to be held at party headquarters in the national capital. The party is expected to release the first list of 100 candidates after the PM Modi-chaired meeting concludes.

Gupta had earlier contest Lok Sabha Elections in 1999 on Samajwadi Party ticket from Banda. Back then, he had lost to BSP candidate. However, the leader emerged victorious from the seat in 2004.

In 2009, he had contested from Phulpur but could not register victory. In 2014, he contested from Allahabad (now Prayagraj) on BJP ticket and won.

Lok Sabha Elections 2019 is scheduled to begin from April 11. The voting for 7-phase polls will conclude on May 19 and counting of votes will be conducted on May 23. The results will be announced on the same day.