By Express News Service
LUCKNOW: Shaken by a none-too-impressive show in the recent panchayat polls and internal party surveys suggesting the tough road ahead in the next year’s assembly polls, the ruling BJP is now busy re-cementing its ties with small parties as well as wooing back estranged allies.
Anand Swarup Shukla, a junior minister in the Yogi Adityanath government, said on Friday that an estranged ally, the Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP), will be welcomed back. His argument was that the party had won four of the eight seats it had contested in 2017 assembly polls only after it joined the BJP-led alliance.
“SBSP chief Om Prakash Rajbhar has been in politics for 30 years. He came into prominence only after he joined forces with BJP. If he returns to the BJP-led alliance, he would be welcomed,” said Shukla, an MLA from Ballia.
His remarks came a day after Surendra Singh, another party MLA from Ballia, ridiculed the SBSP chief, saying “he was an ungrateful politician, who could even disown his own father if it came to reaping political dividends.” Rajbhar, a former UP minister, has dubbed BJP a sinking ship and ruled out his return to the ruling alliance, claiming he didn’t even talk to BJP chief JP Nadda over the phone recently. Rajbhar’s party is a significant force in east UP districts where the most backward Rajbhar caste population is in significant numbers.
The BJP has also started working to streamline its ties with existing allies, the Apna Dal (S) and Nishad Party. Top BJP leaders recently met Apna Dal (S) MP Anupriya Patel as well as Nishad Party chief Sanjay Nishad in Delhi following reports that the two parties were in touch with opposition Samajwadi Party leaders.
Sources said Apna Dal (S) MP Anupriya Patel can be re-inducted into the Union council of ministers. Anupriya, an MP from Mirzapur in east UP, was a minister in the previous Modi government at the Centre between 2016 and 2019. Her party represents the Kurmi/Patel caste, which has a significant population in east and Central MP as well as Bundelkhand region. On the other hand, the Nishad Party represents the Nishad caste, which is a dominant group in the Gorakhpur region, the home turf of CM Yogi Adityanath.