The Bharatiya Janata Party has apparently decided to go without allies in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. After getting rid of the Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP), the party is now preparing to sideline the Apna Dal in the upcoming Assembly bypolls.
"The party will contest all the 13 Assembly seats where by-elections are being held," said a senior BJP leader.
According to sources, the BJP is gearing up to field its own candidate in the bypoll for the Pratapgarh Assembly seat, which was vacated by Apna Dal MLA Sangam Lal Gupta after he won the Lok Sabha elections on a BJP ticket and became an MP from the Pratapgarh Lok Sabha constituency.
The BJP is in no mood to let Apna Dal contest the seat, the Anupriya Patel-led party won in 2017.
The saffron party has continuously sidelined the Apna Dal after the Lok Sabha elections. Patel was not included in the new Narendra Modi government even though she was Union minister of state in the previous Modi government. The party was also not given a ministerial berth in the Cabinet expansion of the Yogi government last month.
The Apna Dal, according to sources, is upset with the BJP, but its leaders refuse to comment on the situation. The party is adopting a wait-and-watch policy.
A BJP leader said: "We are focusing on developing our own leadership that will represent different castes and communities so that we do not have to depend on other parties."
After the exit of Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party that represented the Rajbhar community, the BJP has promoted Anil Rajbhar to the Cabinet rank in the Ministry to make up for the loss.
The Apna Dal is a Kurmi-centric party but in the recent expansion, Yogi Adityanath inducted two Kurmi leaders as ministers — Nilima Katiyar and Ram Shankar Singh Patel.
Clearly, the BJP wants to look beyond Apna Dal when it comes to wooing the Kurmi community.
In 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP and its ally Apna Dal (S) won won 64 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats. The saffron party has won 62 seats and its ally Apna Dal (S) two seats. Leader of Apna Dal (S) Anupriya Patel, who is also a Union minister, won from Mirzapur.
The Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samajwadi Party 'mahagatbandhan' in Uttar Pradesh could just manage 15 seats.
The BSP contested 38 seats, the SP 37, while another ally Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal contested on 3 seats.
Of the grand alliance partners, the Mayawati-led BSP was the biggest gainer with 10 seats.
Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party(SP) won five seats and the RLD couldn't open its account in the polls.
The Congress won the lone Rae Bareli seat of Sonia Gandhi, while the party suffered its biggest loss in its bastion Amethi where Congress president Rahul Gandhi was defeated by Union minister Smriti Irani, who had lost the seat in 2014.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi won from the Varanasi seat defeating his nearest rival Shalini Yadav of the SP by a margin of 4,79,505 votes, bettering his previous margin of 3,71,784 votes in 2014.
-with inputs from agencies