Polls round the corner, BJP faces uphill task in retaining UP allieshttps://indianexpress.com/elections/polls-round-the-corner-bjp-faces-uphill-task-in-retaining-up-allies-5590174/

Polls round the corner, BJP faces uphill task in retaining UP allies

Apna Dal warned the BJP that it will be free to take any decision if the BJP central leadership does not intervene in the functioning of its UP unit by February 20.

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With the elections approaching, the BJP faces the challenging task of keeping the support of NDA allies in Uttar Pradesh who are not happy with the functioning of the state government and the state BJP organisation.

Sources said leaders of the Apna Dal (Sonelal) and Suheldeo Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) are upset with the BJP-led UP government because workers of allies were not being appointed to corporations and boards and also because no discussion was being held regarding seat-sharing for the Lok Sabha polls.

Apna Dal warned the BJP that it will be free to take any decision if the BJP central leadership does not intervene in the functioning of its UP unit by February 20. SBSP is going to hold “Ati-pichda, Ati-Dalit Jagrukta Maharally” in Varanasi on February 24 where the party can announce its future course of action if its demands are not met by the Yogi Adityanath government and the BJP.

SBSP president Om Prakash Rajbhar will address the rally in Varanasi. A cabinet minister in the Yogi Adityanath government, Rajbhar last week offered to give up the charge of the state backward classes welfare department, but the CM is learnt to have rejected that. Rajbhar has been demanding the state bring categorisation in the 27 per cent reservation provided to OBCs.

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BJP needs allies for winning over ‘non-Yadav’ OBCs

With SP-BSP forging an alliance for the Lok Sabha polls, the support of “non-Yadav” OBCs is essential for the BJP to win seats in UP. In 2014, the BJP had won 71 and its ally Apna Dal had won two seats in UP that played a crucial role in the NDA’s victory. The Congress has, meanwhile, forged an alliance with Mahan Dal that also enjoys support of “non-Yadav” OBCs in western UP. In this situation, if BJP loses the support of Apna Dal (S) and SBSP, it could suffer a jolt because both these parties have strong influence among OBC communities such as Kurmi, Rajbhar, Kushwaha, Maurya, Shakya, and others.

BJP president Amit Shah is likely to meet Rajbhar in Delhi on Tuesday where the SBSP chief is likely to present his demands and seek Shah’s intervention in UP affairs. “Another issue of discussion on Tuesday will be the constitution of state backward commission. The list of names proposed for members in the commission does not have names from SBSP,” said Arvind Rajbhar, SBSP’s principal general secretary and UP organisation in-charge.

While Apna Dal contested Lok Sabha elections with the BJP in 2014, the SBSP joined the alliance ahead of the 2017 Assembly elections.