Barely days after the RLSP led by Upendra Kushwaha quit the BJP-led NDA, leading to embarassment for the saffron party in Bihar, another ally Apna Dal has now raised the alarm saying it will have to rethink on its alliance with the national party. Apna Dal national president Ashish Patel told reporters on Tuesday that its workers are not given due importance by the bigger allies. Its Mirzapur MP Anupriya Patel who is a member of Modi cabinet even cancelled her Uttar Pradesh visit on Tuesday and returned to Delhi.
Ashish Patel said that small parties should be given respect and a respectable number of seats should be offered in the run-up to the general elections. He also cautioned that if a pact between arch-rivals Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) materialises in the state, it will pose a stiff challenge to the NDA in 2019 elections.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Ashish Patel said that in the present situation in Uttar Pradesh, workers of all three NDA constituents are disappointed. “No one is paying heed to voices of alliance partners. MLAs and ministers have the same anger. The BJP central leadership should rectify this situation, otherwise, the NDA will suffer maximum loss in UP,” he told the daily.
The Apna Dal had contested two seats in 2014 in an agreement with the BJP. The party had won both the seats – Mirzapur (Anupriya Patel) and Pratapgarh (Kunwar Harivansh Singh). Anupriya Patel is MoS for Health and Family Welfare in Modi government while her husband Ashish Patel is a member of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council.
The recent outburst comes a few days after BJP’s poor show in the Assembly polls held in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Ashish Patel said that the NDA is going through a tough phase and that it should take a lesson from the recent defeats.
“We small parties, like the Apna Dal(S), want some respect to be shown to us. We, our leaders and workers feel hurt if due importance is not given to us,” Ashish said, adding that his party was not happy with the Yogi Adityanath government’s behaviour with Anupriya Patel.
Speaking about how many seats his party wants to contest in 2019, Ashish said it will be revealed when the time comes, adding that the Apna Dal had widened its base during the last five years.
The development comes close on the heels of RSLP walking out of the NDA. The party was upset with the BJP over seat-sharing formula within the NDA constituents in Bihar. Earlier in March, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) had ended its four-year-old alliance with the BJP over Modi government’s refusal to grant Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh.