The tussle within the Apna Dal, the BJP’s only ally in Uttar Pradesh, has reached flash point with the party founder’s wife and daughter set to hold separate rallies on Thursday to claim his legacy.
Krishna Patel, wife of late Sone Lal Patel, will hold her rally on K P College ground in Allahabad, accompanied by her elder daughter Pallavi. The younger daughter, MP Anupriya Patel, will address her rally in Rohaniya, Varanasi, on the same ground where she had shared the dais with Narendra Modi in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Anupriya used to be Rohaniya MLA before becoming Mirzapur MP.
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The occasion is Swabhiman Diwas, birth anniversary of Sone Lal Patel. Both Krishna and Anupriya claim to be the national party president. It was when Krishna, as president, appointed Pallavi as vice president last October that the showdown began.
In February, Anupriya, formerly general secretary, called a meeting and announced herself elected president. In May, her supporters allegedly locked the party head office in Lucknow. Later, Krishna Patel’s supporters broke the locks open and she expelled Anupriya, who approached the Election Commission claiming the president’s post. The EC replied last week, asking the party to resolve its differences within itself or through a court.
“Tomorrow’s rally will make it clear who has the actual support of party workers,” said Anupriya, the leader who had negotiated the deal with the BJP. “It is going to be a big rally on the same ground where I had addressed a rally with the current Prime Minister. After this, I will hold a meeting in Lucknow on July 7 to declare future plans,” she told The Indian Express from Varanasi.
“We are not calling our Allahabad rally a show of strength; we are holding it to mark Swabhiman Diwas and raise farmer’s issues,” said Pallavi. “Don’t call this a family fight; we remain sisters though we don’t agree politically. Anupriya has been misguided by certain people and my mother and I hope that one day sense will prevail.”
The party has one MLA in UP, R K Verma from Vishwanathganj. It has two MPs including Anupriya; Kunwar Hariwansh Singh represents Pratapgarh. Both Anupriya and Krishna Patel claim the support of the other MP and the lone MLA.