On Tuesday, the Apna Dal managed to claim a berth in the Union Cabinet with its MP Anupriya Patel inducted as minister. But the news may not go down well with all members of the party, which is in turmoil over a mother-daughter feud.
A case is pending before the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, with Anupriya and her mother Krishna Patel both claiming to be the national president of the party.
The dispute began soon after Krishna announced the launch of her other daughter, Pallavi, in politics and declared her vice-president of Apna Dal in October 2014. Later, Krishna announced the removal of Anupriya as the party’s general secretary and then expelled her from the party in May 2015.
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Krishna had then claimed that the personal ambitions of Anupriya and her husband Ashish Kumar Singh had brought the family and the Apna Dal at the crossroads.
At present, the party is divided into two camps, led by Krishna and Anupriya. Another Apna Dal MP from Pratapgarh, Kunwar Harivansh Singh, has been keeping his distance from both the leaders.
While Krishna could not be reached for comment, her spokesperson R B Singh Patel said, “Mataji (Krishna Patel) expelled Anupriya from the party a long time ago for “indiscipline”, as she tried to illegally occupy the party’s central office in Lucknow and opposed the appointment of Pallavi as vice-president.”
He claimed that Anupriya had last year moved a petition with the Election Commission (EC) claiming that she was party national president. But the EC declined to intervene. “A few months ago, Anupriya moved a petition in the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court with a similar prayer. The matter is pending there,” the spokesperson added.
He said that when the BJP tied up with the Apna Dal for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Krishna announced the alliance in Delhi in the capacity of party national president. “But the BJP did not stick to the alliance. BJP leaders did not contact Krishna after Lok Sabha results. Neither did they consult her before inducting Anupriya in the government today. The BJP announced an alliance with Apna Dal for the 2017 polls without asking Krishna,” he added.
Meanwhile, Apna Dal general secretary Neel Ratan Patel, who is with the Anupriya camp, claimed, “It is Krishna Patel who has moved the High Court claiming to be party president.”
He claimed that Anupriya is Apna Dal’s national president because she had the support of the public as well as party workers. “This was seen during the Jan Swabhiman rally in Varanasi on July 2. By inducting Anupriyaji as minister, the BJP has followed the spirit of the alliance honestly,” he said.
On the birth anniversary of Apna Dal founder Sone Lal Patel on July 2, Krishna held a public meeting in Allahabad while Anupriya held a separate meeting in Varanasi that was attended by BJP national 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 polls by allying with the BJP and winning two parliamentary seats from Mirzapur and Pratapgarh. After Sone Lal’s death in 2009, Krishna was made national president of the party, while younger daughter Anupriya was made national general secretary. She won the 2012 Assembly election from Rohaniya seat in Varanasi, which she vacated after being elected to the Lok Sabha.
Her mother unsuccessfully contested the Rohaniya Assembly bypolls.