The BJP has managed to maintain its allianc with Apna Dal (Sonelal) in Uttar Pradesh for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The understanding came following a meeting between BJP chief Amit Shah and Apna Dal (S) leader and union minister Anupriya Patel.
The Apna Dal (S) will contest on two seats. While Anupriya Patel will contest from Mirzapur seat, the decision on second seat is yet to be taken.
"The BJP-Apna Dal alliance will contest the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh together with the resolution "fir ek baar Modi sarkar". Apna Dal will contest on two seats, in which Anupriya Patel will contest from Mirzapur seat. The decision on second seat will be taken by leaders of the two parties," tweeted Amit Shah.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Apna Dal (S), which has nine MLA in the state assembly, had contested two seats in a pre-poll alliance with the BJP. Then also, Anupriya Ptel had contested from Mirzapur.
The Apna Dal (S) has presence in over 15 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh with its core voter base of Kurmi-Patel, and nearly one lakh of them only in the prime minister's constituency.
The developnment comes as a big boost to the BJP which had been struggling with the issue of dissenting allies in the state. The party has now managed to placate both its sulking allies -- Apna Dal (S) and Om Prakash Rajbhar's SBSP -- which had been unhappy over the ‘high-handed’ approach adopted by the party towards them.
While Rajbhar had been openly giving statements against BJP leadership and even challenging the Yogi Adityanath government to sack him, Apna Dal (S) patron and union minister Anupriya Patel had also recently expressed dismay over the treatment meted out to her party by the BJP.
The Apna Dal (Sonelal) is a breakaway of the Apna Dal, which was founded in 1995 by Krishna Patel's husband Sone Lal Patel. The Apna Dal (Sonelal) was founded by Jawahar Lal Patel, who was also founding member of the Apna Dal.
In October 2014, fissures within the Apna Dal became public for the first time, as the party's then national general secretary Anupriya Patel was removed from her post.