Lok Sabha elections: BJP banks on LJP, Apna Dal to consolidate OBC and Dalit votes

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PC of Ram Vilas Paswan
PC of Ram Vilas Paswan

The combination of OBC and Dalit votes in favour of the SP-BSP alliance had significantly hurt the BJP in Gorakhpur and Noorpur. Further, the proximity between the SP and the BSP appears to be growing and their alliance is likely to continue in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

After facing defeats in the Lok Sabha and Assembly bypolls in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP is banking on its two allies in the NDA — Lok Janshakti Party and Apna Dal (S) — to consolidate OBC and Dalit votes ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

In a move that indicates the coming together of the two parties, Apna Dal (S) patron and Union Minister Anupriya Payel has invited LJP chief and Union Cabinet Minister Ram Vilas Paswan for the birth anniversary celebrations of her father and party founder Soney Lal Patel in Lucknow on Monday. Paswan will be main speaker at the event and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will be chief guest. The event will witness gathering of leaders from upper caste, OBC and Dalit sections.

Apna Dal has been celebrating Soney Lal’s birth anniversary in the past in eastern Uttar Pradesh, where it has a support base in backward castes. But this is the first time when the party will hold the event at the state capital with the theme “Jan Swabhiman Diwas” and party leaders and workers from across the state will attend the event. Significantly, leaders from other parties like the LJP and the BJP too have been invited.

“Apna Dal has MLAs from OBCs, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. But this will be the first time that an SC leader of the stature of Ram Vilas Paswanji and top OBC leaders of Apna Dal will be on one stage. This event will cement the bonding between OBCs and Dalits which is very important for NDA in view of the next Lok Sabha election,” said Apna Dal spokesperson Arvind Sharma.

The move could be seen as the BJP’s attempt to counter the SP-BSP alliance which led to its defeat in the by-elections to the Kairana, Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats and the Noorpur Assembly segment. The combination of OBC and Dalit votes in favour of the SP-BSP alliance had significantly hurt the BJP in Gorakhpur and Noorpur. Further, the proximity between the SP and the BSP appears to be growing and their alliance is likely to continue in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Recently, at a public meeting in Sant Kabir Nagar in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had targeted the Opposition alliance comprising the SP, BSP and the Congress. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP had contested in Uttar Pradesh in alliance with Apna Dal that won two seats in eastern UP. Anupriya was elected from Mirzapur — BJP chief Amit Shah is visiting Mirzapur this week to hold a meeting related to preparations for the Lok Sabha elections.

A BJP leader said, “The LJP and Apna Dal are NDA partners and the BJP is hopeful that if such events are organised more in the coming days, it will help NDA counter the Opposition alliance, particularly in Uttar Pradesh.” Must check out more on Election Awaaz.

Source:- Indian Express 

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