New Delhi: With less than a month to go for the Lok Sabha elections, some regional political parties, who once supported the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), are joining hands with Congress party.
Recently, Mahan Dal, Babu Singh Kushwaha’s Jan Adhikar Party and Krishna Patel-led faction of the Apna Dal offered to ally with the Congress party under the leadership of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Kushwaha, who was one of Bahujan Samaj Party Supremo Mayawati's most trusted backroom boys, and a senior member of the Uttar Pradesh cabinet, is now with Congress.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is also going out of the way to woo new allies and retain old ones like Om Prakash Rajbhar’s Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) or Anupriya Patel’s Apna Dal (Sonelal).
On the other side, Congress is eyeing Shivpal Yadav’s Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party- Lohia (PSP-L), which has already tied with Peace Party and the Krishna Patel faction of the Apna Dal.
Apna Dal (Sonelal), whose leader Anupriya Patel is a Union minister in the National Democratic Alliance government, recently finalised a seat-sharing agreement with BJP and will contest on two Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh.
Meanwhile, on March 20, Shivpal Yadav had claimed that his party had the support of Apna Dal led by Krishna Patel, days after that party announced a tie-up with Congress. The PSP-L also announced a pact with Mohamed Ayub-led Peace Party in Eastern Uttar Pradesh.
The Apna Dal faction, however, has not made clear whom it would support if both Congress and Shivpal Yadav's party contest in the same constituency.
Sanjay Nishad, the president of the NISHAD (Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal) party has said that his outfit is part of the Samajwadi Party-BSP-Rashtriya Lok Dal ‘grand alliance’ and has been promised two seats from SP’s quota.
It remains to be seen how these caste equations eventually play out in the electoral sphere in Uttar Pradesh, a state crucial for any dispensation that has eyes set on the Centre during the Lok Sabha elections.
As Ashish Awasthi, a journalist based in Lucknow, told Newsclick: "Many regional political parties are fed up with the BJP government and want to defeat it in this election, which is why some of them formed an alliance with Congress,” adding that after the Narendra Modi government came to power in Delhi, “not a single political party addressed the Dalit issue, barring the Congress. Not even BSP supremo Mayawati.”
“This is also a reason that Dalit, Jatav and Other Backward Classes do not want to be part of NDA anymore," he added.
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