Lok Sabha Elections 2019: SP-BSP combine unfazed by Nishad party departure
The Nishad Party may have surprised all by its decision to walk out of the SP-BSP alliance, but leaders of the alliance partners seem unperturbed: holding meetings, chalking out poll strategies at shared offices in Gorakhpur and reaching out to voters like before.
They refuse to buy the widely assumed theory that a major part of 2.5 lakh Nishad voters, who played a key role in the defeat of the BJP in 2018 by-poll, will now transfer their allegiance to the ruling party, following Sanjay Nishad’s decision to join the NDA. As a countermove, the alliance has now bet on another influential Nishad leader Ram Bhuwal Nishad, the ex BSP Minster and two time MLA, who enjoys wide support of the community. Who will fight from the BJP is not yet clear, as after its humiliating defeat in CM’s bastion in the by-poll, the party is being very careful in picking a candidate on the basis of caste calculations.
Samjawadi Party district president Prahlad Yadav is of the view that Sanjay Nishad’s departure has not impacted the alliance, which is strong like before and will repeat the 2018 showing with the unity of SP BSP workers, who will consolidate Muslim, Yadav, Brahmin, Dalit and Nishad voters in favour of the alliance.
“Who knew Sanjay Nishad and his son before 2018? It was our president Akhilesh Yadav who did them a favour by giving Praveen Nishad a ticket in the by-poll. And now, when they have shown their real face, we don’t have dearth of Nishad leaders who can keep Nishad vote intact. Nishads had voted against the BJP in large numbers and had helped the BSP-supported candidate win. Now, when Sanjay Nishad has switched loyalties, they are feeling ditched. Not only Nishad but every section of the society is supporting our alliance to stop the BJP which divides society by their politics of hate,” said Yadav, as he shares the dais with new alliance candidate Ram Bhuwal during a party meeting at its office.
Meanwhile, to win over Nishad voters, the BJP has accepted their long-pending reservation demand issuing SC/ST caste certificates to the fishermen and boat community, claimed Sanjay Nishad who emerged as influential Nishad leader having led violent protests seeking quota for the community. Sanjay Nishad’s Nishad Party is trying to woo the community by propagating the message that he joined the BJP in the interest of community, as the BJP accepted quota demand and agreed to withdraw cases lodged against Nishad workers in the quota protest and will give due respect to his party.
According to Sanjay Nishad, the BJP has accepted his demand to field him from Maharajganj on his party symbol – a platter full of food – even as a final call to field his son, Praveen Nishad, will be taken by the BJP.
District BJP general secretary Dharmendra Singh refused to comment on Nishad leaders departure but said that BJP would win 73 plus seats, including Gorakhpur.