UP government refuses to give Apna Dal a bungalow for party office
The demand by Apna Dal(Sonelal) president Ashish Patel that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should give due respect to smaller constituents of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has failed to cut ice with the BJP.
The state government on Wednesday turned down the Apna Dal’s request for allocation of a bungalow to run the party office.
“Apna Dal(S) is not a recognised political party but a registered party. According to the rules of ‘Allotment of Houses under Control of the Estate Department Bill, 2016’, government buildings are only allotted to recognised parties to run party offices,” estate officer Yogesh Shukla said.
In November, the state government had allotted a big bungalow in Mall Avenue, vacated by former CM late ND Tiwari, to Patel.
The estate department asked Patel to manage party affairs from the bungalow but he said that he was using the bungalow for residential purpose and required a separate bungalow to run the party office.
The state government has also issued notices to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and other parties to vacate the government premises allotted to them to run offices.
A state government officer said rebel Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Singh Yadav, who had launched his own political outfit Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia (PSPL), was running the party office from the bungalow allotted to him on Lal Bahadur Shashtri Marg. The bungalow was vacated by Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati.
A senior BJP leader, who did not wish to be named, claimed: “The Apna Dal has demanded a cabinet berth for Ashish Patel in the Yogi Adityanath ministry. The BJP leadership has assured Apna Dal that Patel will be inducted in the cabinet.”
The delay in cabinet expansion has angered Apna Dal (S) which has nine MLAs. Only one legislator, Jai Kumar Singh Jaiki, was made minister of state in the government.
Patel had on Tuesday alleged that its leaders were not being appointed to posts in state corporations, boards and committees. “Apna Dal leaders are not invited to programmes organised by the BJP as well,” he alleged.
BJP spokesperson Chandramohan said, “Apna Dal is a part of the NDA family. If they have any issue then its leaders should discuss it with the BJP leadership. Apna Dal should also follow coalition dharma.”
Political observer RK Gautam said with a few months remaining in the Lok Sabha election, the NDA constituents had started building pressure on the BJP.
“Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) president Om Prakash Rajbhar, who is a minister in the state cabinet, has already launched a dharna against the state government. The alliance partners want share in Lok Sabha seats as well as a berth in the state cabinet,” he said.
Apna Dal(S) enjoys considerable influence over Kurmi voters which will be crucial in Lok Sabha elections. The party has base in Varanasi, Mirzapur, Pratapgarh, Allahabad and Jaunpur regions.
“In the 2017 assembly election, Apna Dal secured victory on nine assembly seats. There is a large settlement of Kurmi community voters in Varanasi Lok Sabha seat represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha,” Gautam said.
He added that Sevapuri assembly seat in Varanasi was won by Apna Dal candidate Neel Ratan Singh Patel. “Anger among Kurmi voters will put the BJP election managers in a tight position. The BJP will have to draw a strategy to counter Apna Dal’s pressure building tactics,” he said.
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