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Opposition may field Union minister’s mother against BJP in Phulpur bypoll

The Samajwadi Party wants Krishna Patel, estranged mother of junior health minister Anupriya Patel, to contest on its symbol (cycle) but she insists on entering the fray as Apna Dal candidate, supported by both SP and the Congress.

india Updated: Feb 11, 2018 23:34 IST
Kumar Uttam & Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Kumar Uttam & Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Uttar Pradesh bypoll,UP bypoll,Uttar Pradesh
Krishna Patel is junior health minister Anupriya Patel’s (pic) estranged mother and the wife of late Sone Lal Patel, an OBC leader who founded the Apna Dal in 1995.(PTI File Photo)

The Samajwadi Party and the Congress are discussing fielding the mother of a Union minister against the Bharatiya Janata Party in the March 11 by-election to Phulpur Lok Sabha seat of Uttar Pradesh.

Krishna Patel is junior health minister Anupriya Patel’s estranged mother and the wife of late Sone Lal Patel, an OBC leader who founded the Apna Dal in 1995. Krishna and Anupriya lead different factions of Apna Dal.

Sone Lal — with considerable following among the Kurmis of eastern Uttar Pradesh — had unsuccessfully contested from Phulpur in 2009, but stood third with 76,669 votes. Krishna unsuccessfully contested last year’s assembly election from Rohaniya in Varanasi, a seat Anupriya won in the 2012 election. “The Samajwadi Party (SP) wants Krishna Patel to contest on its symbol (cycle),” a leader privy to the discussion said. She, however, is insisting on entering the fray as an Apna Dal candidate, supported by SP and the Congress.

The SP is averse to the proposition, a leader close to former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said, adding that negotiation were still on between the two sides. Senior leaders of Apna Dal in Allahabad admitted that the Congress and the SP had contacted Krishna to contest the Phulpur bypoll. They claimed that the final decision in this regard was expected within the next few days. Krishna, however, denied being contacted by any political party. “No political party has contacted me yet in this regard. I will be able to comment on this later,” she said.

February 20 is the last date to file nominations for the by-election. The poll was necessitated following the resignation of Keshav Prasad Maurya, who became the deputy chief minister of Uttar Pradesh last year.

Phulpur is a stronghold of the Samajwadi Party, which it lost to the BJP in 2014 when the latter stormed to power in Delhi with a clear majority. Maurya defeated SP’s candidate by a margin of over three lakhs in the 2014 parliamentary election.

Maurya polled over five lakh votes in 2014, more than ten times of BJP’s 2009 tally of 44,828 votes.

The SP and the Congress expect that the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will keep away from the bypoll and Krishna will put up a spirited battle against BJP if she contests as a joint candidate.

Kurmis — an OBC community — are the single-largest constituents of Phulpur, with estimates suggesting they constitute over four lakh out of a total of more than 19 lakh voters. Phulpur is a prestige battle that the BJP is trying to win after a splendid show in last year’s assembly election.

(With inputs from K Sandeep Kumar in Allahabad)

First Published: Feb 11, 2018 22:18 IST