LUCKNOW: With the 2019 Lok Sabha elections inching close, rumblings in the NDA are coming to the fore with each passing day. Just days after it managed to appease shifty coalition partners in Bihar, the BJP is now facing fresh alliance trouble in Uttar Pradesh. Raising a banner of revolt, the Apna Dal (Sonelal) has demanded more seats in 2019 and “more respect”. It’s the second ally after O P Rajbhar’s Suheldev Baharatiya Samaja Party to strike a discordant note.
“Smaller parties should be given due respect and importance by the bigger allies while following alliance dharma,” said Apna Dal (Sonelal) chief and Union minister Anupriya Patel’s husband Ashish Singh Patel, who was sent to the state Legislative Council by the BJP in the last council elections.“We also expect some respect. We feel hurt if due importance is not extended to our workers and leaders,” he added. However, he stopped short of spelling out the number of seats he wanted for his party.
In 2014, the Apna Dal had contested the Lok Sabha elections in alliance with the saffron party and had bagged two seats — Anupriya Patel from Mirzapur and Harivansh Singh from Pratapgarh. The Apna Dal chief claimed the BJP’s state leadership was ignoring his wife Anupriya, who is Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare. She was not even invited to the inauguration of medical colleges in the state, he said.
Urging the BJP to ponder over its Assembly poll defeat in three Hindi heartland states, the Apna Dal chief cautioned that the saffron party should be mindful of the challenges likely to be posed by a prospective SP-BSP tie-up.“To cope with a possible Opposition grand alliance, all NDA partners should sit and chalk out a joint strategy,” Ashish Patel maintained. He claimed that his party had expanded its base in the last five years and was a formidable force to reckon with.
The Apna Dal enjoys a clout mostly among the Kurmis who are part of the 40 per cent OBC population of UP. The party has been sulking after the recommendations of the Social Justice Committee set up by the government on carving out a quota for ‘extremely backwards’ within the OBC quota.
Sulking over quota recommendations
Apna Dal (Sonelal) has been sulking after the recommendations of the Social Justice Committee set up by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on carving out a quota for ‘extremely backward classes’ within the OBC quota in the state.