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Lok Sabha elections 2019: Upset ally, Apna Dal firms up deal with BJP, to contest on two UP seats

BJP chief Amit Shah on Friday tweeted that Apna Dal MP from Mirzapur will contest from her seat with the second seat being decided upon in consultations between the two parties. The BJP is yet to decide on where its other OBC ally the SBSP will contest from.

lok sabha elections Updated: Mar 15, 2019 17:29 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Lok Sabha elections 2019,Apna Dal,Anupriya Patel
BJP chief Amit Shah announced on Friday that Apna Dal leader and sitting MP Anupriya Patel will contest from her Mirzapur seat.(Amit Shah/Twitter)

Apna Dal, a crucial BJP ally in Uttar Pradesh, which had been upset with the party for the some time and had been threatening to quit the NDA, will now contest on two seats in the state in alliance with the BJP.

This was announced by BJP president Amit Shah. Apna Dal leader Anupriya Patel, the sitting MP from Mirzapur, will contest from Mirzapur only. The second seat from which the Apna Dal will contest will be decided in consultation with the BJP.

The Apna Dal is an OBC political outfit which comprises largely of the Kurmi sub-caste. The party had been upset with the BJP over not getting its share in power in Uttar Pradesh after it won nine seats in the UP Assembly elections.

The BJP had managed to placate its disgruntled allies barely hours before the model code of conduct came into force.

Of the two seats BJP left for Apna Dal in 2014, one was Mirzapur, and the other was Pratapgarh from where sitting MP Harivansh Pratap Singh has since joined Apna Dal’s third breakaway unit, the other two being those led by Anupriya and one by her mother Krishna Patel.

Anupriya Patel’s husband and UP BJP MLC Ashish Patel confirmed the alliance between BJP and Apna Dal. Party chief Amit Shah also confirmed the development through a tweet saying, both parties will contest polls with the slogan, “Phir ek baar, Modi sarkar (Modi government once more).”

With Amit Shah’s announcement, Mirzapur technically becomes the first seat in Uttar Pradesh that the BJP has officially announced and Anupriya Patel its first candidate. The BJP is expected to release its first list of candidates on Saturday.

The BJP is yet to announce any seat for its other ally, the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), the other OBC political outfit, led by Om Prakash Rajbhar. The Rajbhars wield influence in several seats in and around Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency.

In a move to placate both the Apna Dal as well as the SBSP, the BJP had government in Uttar Pradesh had appointed as many as 15 of their cadres to various bodies and corporations in the state. Among the 15 were nine Apna Dal members and six SBSP members.

“BJP has made an honest attempt by taking a step towards us. We will take two, and of course, contest the 2019 LS polls together,” said SBSP chief Om Prakash.

First Published: Mar 15, 2019 17:29 IST