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First sign of trouble in SP-led camp, upset ally ‘returns’ its share of seats

The Apna Dal (Kamerawadi), a splinter group of the Apna Dal and a rival of the NDA ally Apna Dal (Sonelal), was to contest 18 seats as part of its alliance with the SP, of which it announced a list of seven seats on January 29.

Written by Lalmani Verma | Lucknow |
Updated: February 4, 2022 7:58:07 am
Roadshows of SP-RLD's Akhilesh Yadav and Jayant Chaudhary and Congress's Priyanka Gandhi Vadra cross paths in Bulandshahr on Thursday. Later, Akhilesh tweeted the photograph with the caption: “Ek salaam, tehzeeb ke naam”. Priyanka responded with a video, tweeting: “Hamari bhi aapko Ram Ram”. (ANI)

With a week left for the first phase of elections in Uttar Pradesh, the first cracks appeared in the Opposition front with one of the partners of the Samajwadi Party-led alliance “returning” the seats that were part of its share.

The Apna Dal (Kamerawadi), a splinter group of the Apna Dal and a rival of the NDA ally Apna Dal (Sonelal), was to contest 18 seats as part of its alliance with the SP, of which it announced a list of seven seats on January 29.

But trouble began when the SP on Wednesday announced its leader Amarnath Maurya as the candidate from Allahabad West, one of the seats on the Apna Dal (K)’s list. The same day, the SP announced Apna Dal (K) leader Pallavi Patel as the candidate from Sirathu in Kaushambi district without clarifying if she would contest on her party’s symbol or that of the SP. Her candidature had created unrest in SP’s Kaushambi unit.

On Thursday, upset at the SP fielding a candidate from Allahabad West, the Apna Dal (K) decided to “return” the seats offered to it by the SP. Besides Rohaniya and Pindara (Varanasi), Mariyahu (Jaunpur), Marihan (Mirzapur), Ghoraval (Sonbhadra), Pratapgarh Sadar (Pratagarh) and Allahabad West (Prayagraj) — the seven seats it announced earlier — the Apna Dal (K) said it would give up Sirathu as well. While Sirathu, Pratapgarh Sadar and Allahabad West go to polls in the fifth phase on February 27, the others vote in the seventh phase on March 7.

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“We do not want any dispute and confusion in the alliance. So, we have returned all the seats that the SP gave to Apna Dal to contest in the alliance. Let the SP first give seats to those who need them first. If any seat is left undisputed, let them give it to us,” Apna Dal (K) national general secretary Pankaj Niranjan told The Indian Express.

He, however, said the party would continue to be in alliance with the SP. “Even if the Apna Dal does not contest on a single seat, we will campaign for Akhilesh Yadav for the cause of the backward classes,” Niranjan said.

Niranjan said he had conveyed his party’s decision to SP leader Udaiveer Singh, who is authorised to coordinate between the two parties. “We are awaiting the response from the SP side,” said Niranjan.

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While Udaiveer Singh was not available for comment, SP spokesperson Rajendra Chudhary said he was not aware of the Apna Dal (K)’s decision. “I am not aware of it but the alliance is certainly on,” he said.

An SP leader said on condition of anonymity, “The party president must remove such confusion. Otherwise, it will lead to the kind of chaos that happened in 2017 when SP and Congress (in alliance then) fielded candidates on the same seats in certain districts.”

An alliance leader said, “As Akhilesh is busy canvassing with RLD leaders in western UP for the first two phases of elections, he has assigned other leaders to coordinate with allies. But the final decision has to be taken by Akhilesh. The lack of communication between leaders is resulting in a delay in announcement of seats. For example, the SBSP has so far announced candidates on only five seats (it has sought over two dozen seats). The BJP has already announced candidates on most seats even in the sixth and seventh phases.”

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The Apna Dal (K) claims influence among Kurmi (OBC) voters across the state and also among Muslims in eastern and Central UP, especially in seats falling in Varanasi, Prayagraj and Mirzapur divisions, with its hold overlapping with that of its rival faction, Apna Dal (Sonelal).

Krishna Patel heads the Apna Dal (Kamerawadi) while her daughter Anupriya Patel, Union minister in the NDA government at the Centre, is president of the Apna Dal (Sonelal) faction.

Meanwhile, there are rumblings in the Janwadi Socialist Party (JSP), another party that’s part of the SP-led alliance. Sources said the JSP had given a list of 12 seats from where its candidates were to contest on the SP symbol. “The seats we sought are going to polls in the sixth and seventh phases. But as of now, no candidate from my party has been announced yet and that is creating dissatisfaction among our workers. An announcement is expected only when the SP national president (Akhilesh Yadav) returns to Lucknow on Friday,” said Sanjay Singh Chauhan, president of the JSP that draws its strength from members of the Bind and Kashyap communities who are present in sizeable numbers in over a dozen districts of eastern UP such as Ballia, Jaunpur and Prayagraj, among others.

Besides these two allies, the SP has forged partnerships with the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), Suheldeo Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) and the Mahan Dal.

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First published on: 04-02-2022 at 04:28:02 am

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