Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath

With mere months left for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, several small parties have stepped up seeking their due. According to political analysts the BJP, after facing a major defeat in the recently held Panchayat polls and situation arising out of their purported mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis is desperate to make good with them. These small parties hold command over various backward communities, and many believe that drawing them closer will help the BJP retain power in UP in the coming elections.

Sanjay Nishad, president of Nishad Party, an outfit of fishermen in Uttar Pradesh, on Wednesday said his party is ready to contest 160 seats in the coming assembly elections. Nishad Party which became an ally of ruling Bhartiya Janata Party in UP just before 2019 parliament elections, has been complaining of not being kept in good humor. It has been complaining of not being given their due in the power by BJP. Recently the Nishad Party leader had met with union home minister Amit Shah and national BJP president JP Nadda. Nishad in his statement on Wednesday went to the extent of demanding the post of deputy chief minister if BJP is voted to power in 2022, and a seat in Rajya Sabha.

Similar is the case of other small parties who have been part of BJP alliance in UP. The Apna Dal too is not happy with the treatment given to it by the ruling party and has demanded more share in the power including cabinet berth at the state and center both. Recently the Apna Dal president MP Anupriya Patel too had met with Shah and Nadda in Delhi and was assured about proper settlement of the issues with the state BJP. The BJP central leaders, to bring it back to the alliance, are approaching another former partner Suheldeo Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP). However, SBSP chief Om Prakash Rajbhar has given a cold response to the BJP leaders and vowed to contest assembly polls with the opposition parties.

Senior leaders in state BJP claim that things have been worked out with the Nishad Party and Apna Dal while talks are going on with the SBSP. According to them, Apna Dal may be given a berth in the union and one in the state cabinet. Apna Dal chief Anupriya Patel was minister in the Modi cabinet in 2014 but was denied similar favour in 2019. Anupriya has been demanding accommodation of her husband Ashish Patel in the state cabinet. Ashish Patel is a member in the UP legislative council.

The BJP leaders claim that Nishad Party too will remain with it in the coming assembly polls and their leaders will be accommodated to some position in the government. However, a senior leader said that offering the post of deputy chief minister is something too big for Nishad Party, but one of their leaders may get a place in the state cabinet. The SBSP has however not mellowed down its tone yet.

The leader of SBSP, Om Prakash Rajbhar has stressed that his party would ensure defeat of BJP in coming elections.

Besides these old alliance partners in UP, BJP may go ahead with negotiations with new parties. According to senior leaders, the party has always been open to alliance and giving them proper representation in the government.

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