BJP keeps ally guessing in Pratapgarh, relies on old hands in most other UP seats
In 2014 polls, the BJP had allotted Pratapgarh Lok Sabha seat to Apna Dal which won it. In 2017 UP polls, the Pratapgarh assembly seat too was left by BJP for Apna Dal whose candidate Sangam Lal Bahuguna won it easily. In 2019 LS polls, however, Bahuguna won on BJP symbolUpdated: Sep 29, 2019 23:50 IST
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday declared 10 candidates for the bypolls on 11 seats on October 21 in Uttar Pradesh, holding back the candidate for Pratapgarh to build up suspense on the seat, for which its ally Apna Dal (S) has also staked its claim.
“No idea, so far,” said an Apna Dal functionary from Mirzapur, the Lok Sabha constituency of Apna Dal (S) chief Anupriya Patel.
In 2014 polls, the BJP had allotted Pratapgarh Lok Sabha seat to Apna Dal which won it. In 2017 UP polls, the Pratapgarh assembly seat too was left by BJP for Apna Dal whose candidate Sangam Lal Bahuguna won it easily. In 2019 LS polls, however, Bahuguna won on BJP symbol.
“There is a big list of candidates on the seat. So may be the party could offer its candidate on Apna Dal (S) ticket, taking a leaf out of Samajwadi Party which employed a similar strategy in 2018 Lok Sabha by-polls to the surprise BJP in Gorakhpur and Kairana. The move would kill two birds with one stone. It would help contain rebels within the party while placating the Kurmi-based Apna Dal which is nervously waiting for the BJP to clear its strategy on a seat which the ally feels should ideally come to them,” a BJP leader said adding, “However, a final decision is still in the works.”
HT has learnt that BJP ministers and party leaders, who were prescheduled to visit Pratapgarh for nominations, have their programmes unchanged. “Expect a last minute surprise here,” a BJP functionary said
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath and UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh Patel have already campaigned in Pratapgarh, which fuelled buzz of the BJP’s plans here.
The BJP move on Pratapgarh would give an insight into its thinking on allies, political experts admit. Since 2014 LS polls, when the BJP allied with Apna Dal, the party has consistently relied on allies. In 2017 UP polls, along with Apna Dal, it also inked pact with Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) to win support of Rajbhars, an OBC community sub-sect to which SBSP largely caters to.
However, after SBSP chief Om Prakash Rajbhar turned rebel, the BJP quickly propped up Anil Rajbhar, who had for two years served as an understudy to the more influential Om Prakash. In the recent ministry expansion, Anil was elevated as cabinet minister. Similarly, to promote its own Kurmi leadership, the BJP first appointed Swatantra Dev Singh Patel, a kurmi, as UP BJP chief and then inducted two kurmis - Nilima Katiyar and Ram Shankar Singh Patel – as ministers in the Yogi Adityanath government.
The party in 2019 LS polls also inked a pact with Nishad Party, comprising primarily members of riverine community who are counted as backwards. For the coveted Lucknow (Cantt) seat, the party has given ticket to Suresh Tiwari, a three-term lawmaker who is currently the chief of party’s Awadh region. In Govindnagar (Kanpur), the party has opted for a loyal party hand in Surendra Maithani, a leader of Uttarakhand origin, born and brought up in Govindnagar.
For the Rampur assembly seat, the BJP has propped up Bharat Bhushan Gupta, a party hopper, against Samajwadi Party MP Azam Khan’s wife and Rajya Sabha MP Tazeen Fatima, whom the party declared as its candidate on Sunday.
There were speculations that the BJP could, in order to divide Muslim votes, prop up a Muslim candidate but at the last moment the party settled for Gupta in a seat where Muslim candidates have been winning for decades. In Aligarh’s Iglas seat, the party settled for district general secretary Rajkumar Sahyogi, who has been associated with the RSS for nearly three decades. In Chitrakoot’s Manikpur, the BJP has opted for Anand Shukla, its state working committee member. In Rajbhar-dominated Ghosi seat, it chose Vijay Rajbhar and in Gangoh it has fielded Kirat Singh.
LIST OF CANDIDATES
Lucknow (Cantt) – Suresh Tiwari
Govindnagar – Surendra Maithani
Zaidpur (reserved) – Ambarish Rawat
Balha (reserved) – Saroj Sonker
Rampur – Bharat Bhushan Gupta
Jalalpur – (Rajesh Singh)
Ghosi (Vijay Rajbhar)
Manikpur – Anand Shukla
Iglas (reserved) – Rajkumar Sahyogi
Gangoh (Kirat Singh)
ALL CANDIDATES TO FILE NOMINATION ON MONDAY
All the candidates declared by the party would file their nominations on Monday; the last day for filing nominations. These by-polls were required after sitting MLAs were elected to Lok Sabha.
Of these, barring Rampur that Samajwadi Party had won, Ambedkarnagar that BSP had won and Pratapgarh that was with Apna Dal, the rest of the seats were all with BJP.
In several seats, like Lucknow Cantt (Lucknow), Govindnagar (Kanpur), Iglas (Aligarh), Manikpur (Chitrakoot) the party has relied on old party hands, though in some seats like Jalalpur (Ambedkarnagar) the party has tactically given ticket to party hoppers or their wards.
The party has just won the Hamirpur by-poll, which was required after Ashok Chandel, sitting BJP lawmaker was disqualified following his conviction in a murder case murder.
First Published: Sep 29, 2019 21:22 IST