In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP is hoping to attract Other Backward Castes (OBC) votes by inducting Apna Dal MP from Mirzapur Anupriya Patel into the the Modi cabinet. However, Apna Dal has its problems: it is in the throes of internal turmoil due to a feud between Anupriya and her mother, Krishna Patel. While Krishna had ‘expelled’ Anupriya from the party in May 2015, both Krishna and Anupriya still claim to be national president of Apna Dal.
The rift in the party, which has two MPs and is BJP’s ally at the Centre, surfaced in October 2014 when Anupriya had said that her mother’s decision to make her elder sister Pallavi Patel the party’s vice-president was illegal and arbitrary.
Later, Krishna removed Anupriya as the party’s general secretary. Krishna had then said that Anupriya’s personal ambitions and those of her husband Ashish Kumar Singh had brought the family and the Apna Dal to the crossroads.
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While Krishna Patel could not be reached for comment, her spokesperson R B Singh Patel said, “Mata ji (Krishna Patel) had expelled her (Anupriya) from the party a long time ago following ‘indiscipline’ when she tried to illegally occupy the party’s central office in Lucknow and had opposed the appointment of Pallavi as vice-president.”
Singh Patel claimed that last year, Anupriya had moved a petition in the Election Commission EC) to claim that she was national party president but the EC had refused to intervene in the matter. “A few months ago, Anupriya had moved a petition in Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court with similar prayer. Judgment is awaited,” he said.
R B Singh Patel said that when BJP had forged an alliance with Apna Dal in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Krishna had announced the alliance in Delhi in her capacity of party president. “But BJP did not follow the alliance. BJP leaders did not contact Krishna after the Lok Sabha polls results. They also did not consult with Krishna Patel before inducting Anupriya into the government today. BJP has also announced alliance for 2017 polls without asking Krishna Patel,” he said.
Apna Dal general secretary Neel Ratan Patel, who is with the Anupriya camp said, “It is Krishna Patel who has moved the High Court with claims for party president.” Neel Ratan claimed that Anupriya is Apna Dal’s national president because both public and party workers were with her. “Anupriya ji has a following in the public as was seen recent at the Jan Swabhiman rally in Varanasi on July 2. By inducting Anupriya ji in government as minister, BJP has followed spirit of the alliance honestly,” he said.
On July 2, the birth anniversary of Apna Dal founder Sone Lal Patel, his wife Krishna Patel had held a public meeting in Allahabad while Anupriya had held separate public meeting in Varanasi that was attended by BJP president Amit Shah and state president Keshav Prasad Maurya.
Founded in 1995 by Anupriya’s father Sone Lal Patel, Apna Dal rose to prominence in the 2014 parliamentary elections by allying with the BJP and winning its first two parliamentary seats — Mirzapur and Pratapgarh.
After Sone Lal’s death in 2009, Krishna was made national president of the party, while his younger daughter Anupriya was made national general secretary. The latter had won the 2012 assembly election from Rohaniya seat in Varanasi which she vacated this year after getting elected to Lok Sabha.
Her mother unsuccessfully contested the Rohaniya assembly bypolls.
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