Anupriya threatens to divorce cavalier BJP, meets Priyanka
Apna Dal (Sonelal), a key BJP ally in UP, has convened a meeting of its leaders on February 28 to take call on continuing alliance with the BJP for the Lok Sabha polls.
Union Minister of State for Health Anupriya Patel, along with her husband and party MLC Ashish Patel, met Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and her colleague Jyotriditya Scindia in New Delhi on Thursday and had a long talk to explore the possibility of a pre-poll tie-up.
The NDA ally had contested and won two seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in UP. It has a support base in the OBC Kurmi community in districts around Allahabad, Mirzapur, Sonebhadra and Varanasi. The Apna Dal (S) contested the 2017 Assembly polls and won nine seats.
“Some differences cropped up and we gave them time to answer our questions by February 20. But they did not have any answers. So it appears that the BJP is not interested in listening to our complaints,” Anupriya said.
“Now Apna Dal is independent to take its own decision. We have called a party meeting and whatever will be decided in the meeting, you will be informed,” she said, clarifying that there was no conflict with the BJP over seat-sharing.
Meanwhile, in an effort to keep the flock together, BJP chief Amit Shah reached out to another NDA ally from UP, Om Prakash Rajbhar. Rajbhar’s Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party has influence in eastern UP districts bordering Bihar.
The smaller NDA allies have upped the ante after the BJP in the last two months conceded a considerable space to its partners in Bihar and Maharashtra for stitching a larger coalition for the general elections.
Sources in the BJP said that the aggressive posturing by Apna Dal (S) could be because Anupriya wants more seats in the Lok Sabha elections.
The Apna Dal (S) president’s husband Ashish Patel denied any conflict with the BJP on seat-sharing.
“We honestly want PM Modi to get re-elected. But for that, the State BJP has to change its attitude,” he said.
Saturday, 23 February 2019 | PNS | Lucknow