LUCKNOW: The ties between the BJP and its ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) appear to have received a boost following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Mirzapur where he paid glittering tributes to the Uttar Pradesh-based party's founder Sonelal Patel.
In his nearly 45 minute speech in Mirzapur yesterday, Modi had said, "We are moving to fulfil the dreams envisioned by Sonelal Patel, and making continuous efforts in that direction."
Welcoming the Prime Minister's statement, Apna Dal (Sonelal) spokesperson Arvind Sharma told PTI that "Prime Minister Narendra Modi is really concerned about the development of Purvanchal region of Uttar Pradesh and welfare of its people. This is certainly an example of positive thinking.
The fact that he took the name of Sonelal Patel in his speech will further cement the ties and bond between both the NDA constituents."
Mirzapur, an eastern UP district, is represented in the Lok Sabha by senior Apna Dal (Sonelal) leader Anupriya Patel, daughter of Sonelal Patel.
She is also the Union minister of state for health and family welfare.
Sharma said that it was nice that the prime minister recalled his earlier visit to Mirzapur with French President Emmanuel Macron, and how the latter was awestruck by the glory of Goddess Vindhyavasini, the presiding deity of the place.
The area between the Vindhyas and the Bhagirathi has been a centre of immense potential for centuries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said yesterday.
"The Prime Minister is concerned about the development of the region, which had been virtually languishing during the tenures of the previous governments," Sharma said.
He added that Apna Dal (Sonelal) was a trusted ally of the BJP.
"We have been with the BJP through thick and thin.
In fact, we have been able to transfer our votes to the BJP, which proved to be an important factor in gaining the mandate both during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and also during the 2017 UP Assembly elections," the Apna Dal (Sonelal) spokesperson said.
He said that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had recently termed Apna Dal (S) as an "ideal coalition partner".
We will strengthen the NDA, and all future steps will be taken keeping this in mind, Sharma said.
The Apna Dal (S) spokesperson also pointed to the fact that the recently held birth anniversary celebrations of Sonelal Patel was attended by Adityanath and UP BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey.
In the 2017, UP Assembly elections, BJP bagged a lion's share of 312 out of 403 seats in the state, while its ally Apna Dal (S) emerging victorious on 9 out of the 11 seats it contested.
Another ally of the BJP SBSP (Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party) got four seats in the UP Assembly.
"The endeavour of the BJP is to remember and give respect to leaders who had worked for the upliftment of the oppressed and deprived people.
Sonelal Patel worked for such people, and the prime minister mentioned him.
All the schemes and projects envisaged by the prime minister are aimed at improving the life of the people who are existing in the last strata of the society," UP BJP spokesperson Manish Shukla said.