With the aim to strengthen its campaign ahead of the Assembly polls early next year, the BJP has roped in leaders from its allies in the NDA to address the ongoing Parivartan Yatra in Uttar Pradesh. While Union Minister and Apna Dal MP from Mirzapur, Anupriya Patel, has been attending rallies in various districts, Lok Jan Shakti Party chief and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan is set to address a public meeting in Amethi’s Jagdishpur area on Saturday.
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BJP had started parivartan yatras from Saharanpur, Jhansi, Sonbhadra and Ballia earlier this month, which were flagged off by party president Amit Shah. Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Kalraj Mishra and Uma Bharti, along with other party leaders, have been attending rallies as part of the yatras in different districts.
Union MoS for Health and Family Welfare Anurpiya Patel, roped in to attract OBC’s Patel votes in eastern UP, has been travelling with the yatra for a while now. She was in Sultanpur on Thursday where Union Minister Nitin Gadkari addressed a rally. She was in Jaunpur on November 21 and 22 and had addressed rallies with Union MoS for Railways Manoj Sinha.
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Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) president Om Prakash Rajbhar, who had joined hands with BJP in July, is also taking part in rallies in his stronghold of eastern UP. SBSP is a regional outfit with considerable influence on backward and Dalit voters. It had contested the 2012 UP polls and 2014 Lok Sabha elections in alliance with jailed-mafia Mukhtar Ansari’s Qaumi Ekta Dal (QED), which has now merged with the ruling Samajwadi Party.
When asked about presence of non-BJP leaders in the rallies, BJP national secretary and Parivartan Yatra coordinator, Mahendra Singh, said: “Parivartan Yatra is being organised by BJP. But leaders of our alliance partners in the NDA are taking part in the yatra to help bring about parivartan (change) in UP. BJP is inviting them at different areas as per its requirement.”
Party state chief spokesperson Hridya Narain Dixit on Friday said more than 133 senior leaders have so far taken part in the yatras in 164 Assembly segments of 34 districts. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address Parivartan Jan Sabhas in Moradabad on December 3, in Bahraich on December 11 and in Kanpur on December 18… The PM’s rally in Lucknow on December 24 has been postponed, as parivartan yatras would conclude in the districts the same day and it would not be possible for all workers to join the PM’s programme,” he added.
“Shah will address Parivartan Jan Sabhas in Etah on December 16 and in Shahjanpur on December 17. Rajnath Singh will address public meetings in Fatehpur on December 9 and in Hardoi on December 20. On the other hand, Gadkari will adress a rally in Ambedkar Nagar on December 20,” said Dixit.