With the nomination process for assembly by-elections in Uttar Pradesh over, the stage is set for a two-pronged contest between Apna Dal and Samajwadi Party in the pre-dominantly Patel-dominated Rohaniya assembly segment in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency.
Apna Dal is all out to retain the seat and reassert its hegemony among Patels while its alliance partner BJP is leaving to nothing to chance as well.
The seat fell vacant after Apna Dal general secretary Anupriya Patel, who was sitting MLA from Rohaniya, won parliamentary election from Mirzapur. Now, Krishna Patel, Anupriya’s mother and national president of the party, is in fray.
Ruling Samajwadi Party has fielded Mahendra Patel, younger brother of state PWD minister Surendra Patel, who is the MLA from adjoining Sewapuri constituency. It is a matter of prestige for the SP to win the seat and senior party leaders are expected to campaign for Mahendra.
On the other hand, after the by-elections drubbing in three states — Bihar, Karnataka and Uttarakhand — the by-elections in 10 assembly seats in UP are more crucial for the saffron brigade.
The Rohaniya by-election is going to be a litmus test for the BJP as the seat falls within PM Modi’s parliamentary constituency.
Amit Shah, national president of the BJP, has already told the party leaders of Kashi region to ensure a victory for Apna Dal. A joint campaigning team of both the parties has been formed to reach out to electorate.
The Rohaniya assembly segment has been divided into 16 zones with BJP and Apna Dal manning eight zones each. Joint meetings of both parties are already taking place on regular basis to fine tune poll strategy and remove glitches, if any.