BJP, ALONG with its allies Apna Dal (Sonelal) and Suheldeo Bharatiay Samaj Party (SBSP), are set to take part in a show of strength in Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency, on July 2. The rally is being organised to mark the birth anniversary of Apna Dal founder late Sonelal Patel.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will be the chief guest and key speaker at the rally — a first where BJP and its allies will participate after winning the Assembly elections. The rally will be held in the Rohaniya Assembly segment, which is dominated by OBC voters. It will be presided over by Apna Dal MP and Union MoS for Health and Family Welfare Anupriya Patel, daughter of Sonelal Patel.
To make the rally a success, Apna Dal has invited its workers from others states as well, including Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Bihar. BJP leaders of Varanasi and adjoining districts of eastern UP also have been invited along with SBSP leaders. Power Minister Shrikant Sharma and Panchayati Raj Minister Bhupendra Singh have been invited as special guests.
“It will be a ‘Jan Swabhiman’ rally. It holds significance because it is going to be first joint public meeting of the alliance after the win in the elections,” Apna Dal state spokesperson Arvind Sharma said, adding that a gathering of around one lakh is expected.
“We are trying to hold the rally at a grand scale because after 22 years of being set up, Apna Dal has become a part of the government. This rally has political significance in view of 2019 Lok Sabha elections too because it will be a common platform where leaders of all alliance parties will show their unity,” Sharma said.
BJP leaders in Varanasi said Adityanath, after addressing the rally, may attend a party programme in the city to celebrate the completion of the government’s 100 days in office. He may also hold a meeting administrative officials to review development projects.
Om Prakash Rajbhar, the national president of SBSP — which had won four seats in the 2017 state elections — is a minister in the Adityanath Cabinet. Apna Dal, on the other hand, has nine MLAs. Its MLA Jai Kumar Singh Jaiki is a state minister.
In 2016, at a ‘Jan Swambiman’ rally organised in Rohaniya, BJP had announced its alliance with Anupriya-led Apna Dal for the 2017 elections. Rohaniya and its adjoining constituencies are dominated by OBC voters, the support base of Apna Dal and SBSP.