The BJP along with Apna Dal’s Anupriya Patel has begun its outreach to allies in Uttar Pradesh ahead of next year’s elections. Ms Patel was in Delhi today, where she met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and, sources said, flagged off her demand for two ministerial posts for Uttar Pradesh and one at the Centre.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah and former bureaucrat AK Sharma – who was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s choice for a key role in Uttar Pradesh – met senior Nishad Samaj leader Dr Sanjay Kumar Nishad and Sant Kabir Nagar MP Praveen Nishad.
The alliance began before the 2014 national elections, when the BJP won 71 of the state’s 80 seats. Apna Dal, which enjoys support among Kurmis, added two more seats and rose to prominence.
In the 2017 elections, when the BJP came to power in the state, the Apna Dal won nine assembly seats. Ms Patel briefly took over the health department during the first term of the Narendra Modi government.
A few days ago, Anupriya Patel had met State BJP President Swatantra Dev Singh, where the district panchayat elections were discussed.
Apna Dal is interested for the post of Zilla Panchayat President in some districts including Mirzapur and Banda.
Outreach to local allies was planned along with meetings with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who was also in Delhi for meetings with the party leadership.
Sources said the BJP is deeply concerned about the leadership in Uttar Pradesh and the response it has received from various quarters indicates that the chief minister is unable to take everyone along.
Ahead of the 2019 national election, Apna Dal had threatened to quit the alliance, alleging that the BJP was “not taking care of its allies”. Anupriya Patel had said that the party is “free to take its own decisions”.
At that time also Apna Dal sources indicated that their differences were mainly with the Chief Minister. Apna Dal leader Ashish Patel, husband of Anupriya Patel, had sought the intervention of the central leadership, saying, “The state BJP leadership is not giving us the respect we deserve.”
Another key ally of the BJP, Om Prakash Rajbhar, had left the alliance and joined hands with the opposition in the middle of the Lok Sabha elections in May 2019.
Before the 2017 elections, the BJP had formed a rainbow alliance keeping in mind the social equations. It brought together various parties representing non-Yadav OBCs who were instrumental in helping the BJP to a landslide victory in the assembly elections.