UP elections: BJP allies demand more seats, party searching for winning formula
The BJP’s second list of candidates for Uttar Pradesh assembly election is stuck following a tug of war between allies, turncoats throwing tantrums and a lack of consensus on seats sought by veterans for their children.assembly elections Updated: Jan 18, 2017 10:46 IST
The BJP’s second list of candidates for Uttar Pradesh assembly election is stuck following a tug of war between allies, turncoats throwing tantrums and a lack of consensus on seats sought by veterans for their children.
Even after several rounds of meetings, the Bharatiya Janata Party has not been able to decide the number of seats it will allocate to two of its allies - Apna Dal of Union minister Anupriya Patel and Bharatiya Samajwadi Party of Om Prakash Rajbhar.
The elections will be held in seven phases in February and March.
Both the parties have a base in eastern Uttar Pradesh and have influence among OBC communities - Kurmis and Rajbhars. The BJP has been traditionally weak in the eastern region and is banking upon the alliance partners to woo the backward classes. Eastern UP is a Samajwadi Party stronghold area.
“We want to leave maximum 20-25 seats for allies. Their demand is much higher,” a BJP leader involved in negotiation with the two parties told Hindustan Times.
Anupriya, who is a Lok Sabha MP from Mirzapur, had initially sought about 50 seats for the Apna Dal faction led by her, but later scaled it down to about 30 seats. Her mother, Krishna Patel, is the leader another faction of Apna Dal and is being wooed by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Rajbhar, too, wants about two dozen seats for his party. He met BJP chief Amit Shah in New Delhi on Tuesday and left his ally worried with his subsequent meeting with Samajwadi Party general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav.
The BJP’s Uttar Pradesh in-charge Om Mathur held a closed-door meeting with Rajbhar later to sort out issues.
“Rajbhar was told by the BJP that he can get maximum half a dozen seats,” a source privy to the deliberation said. He has refused to accept.
The BJP’s plan to keep its allies in a limit has its genesis in Bihar, where it’s alliance partners were given a sizable number of seats in the 2015 assembly elections but did not do well.
The BJP had fielded candidates in 157 out of 243 seats, leaving 86 seats for allies - LJP Ram Vilas Paswan, RLSP of Upendra Kushwaha and HAM of Jitan Manjhi. These three allies could win just five out of 86 seats they contested.
“We paid a price in Bihar, we don’t want its repeat in Uttar Pradesh,” a BJP general secretary said.