Continuing with the efforts to attract backward caste voters in eastern UP in the run-up to the 2017 Assembly elections, BJP national president Amit Shah will address a ‘Jan Swabhiman maharally’, organised by NDA partner Apna Dal, on July 2 in Rohaniya Assembly segment of Varanasi.
Apna Dal MP from Mirzapur Anupriya Patel will preside over the rally that will also mark the birth anniversary of her father and party founder Sone Lal Patel. Despite the rally being held under the banner of Apna Dal, BJP leaders and workers are actively taking part in the preparatory works.
A BJP leader said that the rally holds significance because majority of the population in Rohaniya belong to the backward caste of Kurmi. Anupriya had won the seat in 2012 assembly elections but Samajwadi Party’s candidate defeated Anupriya’s mother Krishna Patel in the by-election later.
At the rally, Shah will be the chief guest while BJP national vice-president and UP in-charge Om Mathur will attend as the special guest. Party state president Keshav Prasad Maurya and Kashi region president Laxman Acharya will also be present. BJP workers from the entire Kashi region have been invited to the rally.
Rohaniya is adjacent to Sevapuri Assembly constituency where Amit Shah had visited a backward caste party worker’s residence to have lunch with the community’s people and Dalits on May 31. On the same day, he had addressed ‘Sardar Patel Kisan Mahasammelan’ in backward caste-dominated area of Jhunsi in Allahabad.
Speaking on the “future” of BJP-Apna Dal alliance, Laxman Acharya said “the final decision will be taken by the top leadership but it is a fact that BJP always respects the alliance and cooperates with its ally”.
“In the same spirit, BJP have space to Anupriya on the stage of ‘Parivartan Rally’ (where PM Narendra Modi was the chief guest) in Allahabad after the party’s national executive meet on June 13. Her presence on the stage had led to speculations that she could be inducted in the next cabinet expansion of NDA government to attract backward caste voters in eastern UP,” a BJP leader said. “Both Rohaniya and Sevapuri constituencies are important because we could not win these seats in 2012. We are focusing on winning both the seats in 2017 because these are part of PM’s Lok Sabha constituency,” the leader added.
Apna Dal general secretary and rally convener Neel Ratan Patel said, “The rally is very important for the 2017 Assembly polls. It will strengthen the bonding between Apna Dal and BJP. Since Amit Shah is the BJP’s national president, he has been invited as the chief guest,” Patel said.
After addressing the rally on July 2, Shah will address a meeting of BJP’s booth presidents and other leaders from Kashi unit in Jaunpur. A day before, on July 1, Shah will address booth sammelan of Gorakhpur region in Basti.