Uttar Pradesh polls: BJP finalises seat-sharing with Apna Dal and Nishad Party

Leaders did not give numbers but said that the three parties will contest under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘sabka sath sabka vikas sabka vishwas’

Tribune News Service

Vibha Sharma 
New Delhi, January 19

The BJP-led NDA on Wednesday formally announced its alliance for the upcoming elections to the 403-member Uttar Pradesh Assembly with the Apna Dal and the Nishad Party, terming social justice and overall development as chief guiding principles for the coalition in the poll-bound state. BJP president JP Nadda also lauded Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath-led government for its performance on issues like law and order, boost in investment, and improvement in social indicators.

Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP president JP Nadda, UP CM Yogi Adityanath and other NDA leaders from UP pose for a photograph after Uttar Pradesh election meeting at BJP HQs in New Delhi on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Manas Ranjan Bhui

Though the leaders said that the seat-sharing formula is ready, they did not divulge the exact numbers on which the three parties will contest.

While an alliance with the Apna Dal and the Nishad Party was being considered a done deal, sources said the aim of today’s press conference by Nadda and leaders of the two constituents, Anupriya Patel and Sanjay Nishad, was to unitedly send message in mind chief competitor Samajwadi Party’s recent moves regarding the Other Backward Classes.

Both Apna Dal and Nishad Party draw support from specific backward castes and OBCs, Yadavs and non-Yadavs, and Dalits play a key role in UP politics. The Akhilesh-Yadav led SP has stitched alliances with several caste-based parties and also included many OBC leaders, including from the BJP, into the party. 

Flanked by Apna Dal leader and union minister Anupriya Patel and Nishad Party’s Sanjay Nishad, Nadda said the NDA will “contest and win” the elections under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas’. 

“In the past five years UP has progressed in all sectors and done well on all social indicators,” Nadda said, terming ‘gareeb kalyan’ as a key focus of the Yogi Adityanath government. “Development, social justice, pro-women and pro-backward policies and law and order were the key achievements of the BJP’s double engine government,” the BJP president said

Both Patel and Nishad hailed the Modi government for granting constitutional status to the OBC commission and giving the community reservation in education, including NEET. They also hit out at BJP’s rivals for “denying” a large section of backward communities their rights.

Slamming “parties who claim to represent backward classes” for “paying mere lip service to their uplift” Anupriya claimed they “did not even consider reservation for OBCs in NEET”.

“The (previous) UPA government ignored OBC reservation in medical seats. Those parties representing backward classes agreed to the reservation-less NEET policy.

“The Narendra Modi-led-NDA government brought the changes, he also developed places associated with founding father Dr BR Ambedkar,” she said.

Nishad also accused the past governments of discriminating against backward classes and Dalits. Quoting the Fisheries Ministry as one of the key achievements. Nishad enlisted schemes and benefits extended by the Modi government for his constituency.

Sources, meanwhile, said that the seat-sharing formula for UP and Punjab is “ready” and details about how many constituencies each party will fight will be announced later. In UP, there appears to be “some issues on a couple of seats” which are being worked on, they said. 

Regarding Punjab, they said the BJP might settle for around 63-65 seats, leaving around 35-36 for Captain Amarinder Singh’s Punjab Lok Congress, 14-15 Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt) and some for another possible new constituent.

The central leadership has also discussed candidates for Uttarakhand and Goa with respective core groups.

 

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