LUCKNOW: With the Lok Sabha elections inching closer, the political landscape of Uttar Pradesh is changing by the day. The party’s smaller, regional outfits are having their day in the sun as national parties scramble to stitch up alliances.
For the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the situation comes as a double-edged sword. On one hand, it is busy finding new allies and on the other it is placating older allies who are reportedly unhappy — Union Minister Anupriya Patel’s Apna Dal (S) and Uttar Pradesh Cabinet minister OP Rajbhar’s Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP).
Patel has been airing her discontent with the BJP leadership for the last two months. She had even issued an ultimatum to the BJP to address its grievances by February 20, failing which the party would look for alternatives.
Patel then met Congress’ newly appointed general-secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday for a three-hour long deliberation session 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.
Similarly, Rajbhar, a frequent critic of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his government in UP, has been sulking since he joined the dispensation in March 2017. According to a functionary in the state’s BJP unit, Rajbhar was placated to an extent by BJP chief Amit Shah when the SBSP chief met him in Delhi on Wednesday. The two are scheduled to meet again next week.
Other such outifits are also busy making their presence felt in the state. While the Rashtriya Lok Dal, which failed to win a single seat in 2014, has managed to clinch three of the six seats it was demanding from the SP-BSP alliance, eastern UP-based Mahan Dal has decided to go with the Congress. The Samajwadi Party is also considering ‘accommodating’ fringe players by allowing its candidates to contest on the SP symbol.
The BJP’s alliance with the Apna Dal(S) and the SBSP helped it garner huge numbers across the state in 2014. Since then however, the party has not been able to maintain its relations with leaders of the smaller parties.