Lucknow: With Lok Sabha elections inching closer, the political landscape of Uttar Pradesh is changing its colour every moment. While the bigger parties are busy clinching alliances, smaller outfits are out to live their moments of political worth.
On one hand, the BJP is busy finding new allies and placating a few older ones, in UP it is on the verge of losing its two allies -- Apna Dal (S) of Anupriya Patel and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) of OP Rajbhar—with whom it fought 2014 Lok Sabha and 2017 Assembly polls respectively mustering a mammoth mandate.
While Anupriya Patel has been a minister in Modi cabinet for the last five years, OP Rajbhar is minister in Yogi cabinet.
The escapades of both the BJP allies to the rival camps have left the saffron party a bit baffled. Anupriya Patel has been airing her discontent to the BJP leadership for the last two months. After being in Modi cabinet for a full term now she is seeking more respect alleging neglect of her party at the hands of BJP state leaders.
She had even given an ultimatum to the BJP to address its grievances by February 20, failing which the party would look for alternatives. Anupriya even met Congress’s newly appointed general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday holding three-hour long deliberations over possible alliance.
The party is likely to take the final decision by this month end.
“The time for talks with the BJP is now over. We are free to take our decision,” said Patel. Meanwhile, the other faction of Apna Dal, led by Krishna Patel, the wife of founding president Sonelal Patel and mother of Anupriya, is in touch with the BJP.
However, Deputy CM Keshav Maurya is still hopeful. “Apna Dal will remain apna,” he says in a lighter vein claiming it to be a minor discontent which will be addressed.. Similarly, OP Rajbhar of SBSP, a ‘habitual’ critic of CM Yogi and the BJP government in UP, has been sulking since he joined the dispensation in March, 2017.
He blows hot and cold almost on every issue. Rajbhar has been a strong votary of quota for Most backwards within the prescribed quota for OBCs and has been demanding implementation of Social Justice Commission report but Yogi government has not been able to oblige him.
However, as per the sources, Rajbhar has been placated to an extent by BJP chief Amit Shah when the SBSP chief had met him in Delhi on Wednesday. They are supposed to meet again on coming Tuesday to finalise the seat sharing in UP.
“There is no crisis in NDA in UP. We have the unflinching support of the dalits, backwards, deprived and downtrodden,” says BJP leader Dr Chandra Mohan. Virtually other such outifits are also busy flaunting their importance to the bigger parties.
While the RLD, which had failed to open account in 2014, has managed to clinch three of six seats it was demanding from SP-BSP alliance, eastern UP based Mahan Dal has decided to go with the Congress under Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, in-charge eastern UP.
Mahan Dal has its clouts among OBCs. Such is their importance that Samajwadi Party is also mulling ‘accommodating’ fringe players like the Nishad party and the Peace Party by allowing its candidates to contest on SP symbol. Similarly, Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia (PSPL), the new political outfit floated by disgruntled Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Yadav is also in talks with Congress and Shivpal is likely to meet Congress high command in Delhi to finalise seat agreement.
The political observers feel that the smaller, caste-based outfits assume importance for big players as they are capable of transferring their votes in totality. “Apna Dal and SBSP have been our partners of the days of struggle.
They will not do anything to destabilize NDA,” says Siddharth Nath Singh of BJP. He adds that all issues will be settled realising significance of the smaller allies.