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Will Apna Dal Stick with NDA or Change Sides in 2022 UP Assembly Polls?

Anupriya Patel, Apna Dal (S) leader and Mirzapur MP.

Anupriya Patel, Apna Dal (S) leader and Mirzapur MP.

The Apna Dal (S) is now looking forward to the expansion of Cabinet at the Centre and the state.

Lucknow: With less than seven months remaining in the 2022 state assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, political parties have started finalising their alliances and strategies for the mega showdown. The Samajwadi Party (SP), meanwhile, is busy stitching an alliance with smaller parties instead of forging an alliance with bigger parties. The SP had contested 2017 state assembly polls in alliance with the Indian National Congress.

As the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi party silently works to accommodate more and more smaller parties for their battle against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2022, sources suggest it will also be trying to bring Apna Dal (Sone Lal) to its fold. The question that arises is, will the Apna Dal (S) leader and Mirzapur MP, Anupriya Patel, change loyalties for UP elections? The Apna Dal (S) has 9 MLAs in the UP Assembly at the moment, while its leader Anupriya Patel is MP from Mirzapur. The party has been a part of NDA since the Narendra Modi government1.0.

The Apna Dal (S) leader Anurpiya Patel who was given a central berth in the previous NDA government from 2014-2019, was left out in the second term of the Modi government. Ashish Patel, husband of Anurpiya Patel who is also the National President of Apna Dal (S) and MLC, was also not given any ministerial berth in the Yogi Adityanath-led government. None of the Apna Dal (S) leaders were given any weightage in the central or state BJP government, which might have made the Apna Dal (S) leadership unhappy.

Highly placed sources suggest that Samajwadi Party is now trying to get Apna Dal (S) on its side, however no one from either SP or Apna Dal (S) is ready to speak on the issue. Officially, the Apna Dal (S) is a part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the moment. The party is said to have a good hold on Kurmi voters in the Purvanchal region of the state.

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One of the leaders of the Apna Dal, on the condition of anonymity, said, “If we continue to remain silent and we are mistreated like this even after being an alliance partner then soon we will have to fight for our survival.”

However, many believe that this can be a mere pressure tactic by Apna Dal (S) as the elections in the state are due early in 2022.

The founder of Apna Dal (S) faction, Sone Lal Patel was a senior Bahuan Samaj Party (BSP) leader before he founded his own political outfit. Few days back Apna Dal (S) MP from Mirzapur Anupriya Patel had tweeted against Bollywood actor Randeep Hooda for his derogatory remarks against BSP chief Mayawati and had also demanded action against him from Adityanath. This was probably the first time in the recent past when Anupriya Patel had tweeted in favour of the BSP chief.

There were rumours that BSP may also stitch alliance with other parties for 2022 state assembly polls. But BSP Mayawati has made it clear that her party will go solo in the elections.

The Apna Dal (S) is now looking forward to the expansion of Cabinet at the Centre and the state. If the BJP government gives importance to Apna Dal (S) in any of these Cabinet expansions then it might give rest to the speculations of Apna Dal (S) floating away from NDA. However, if it does not happen and the opposition parties work well, Anupriya Patel might sway to the other side.

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first published:June 01, 2021, 09:40 IST