Uttar pradesh

Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections 2022 | Voters understand switch-overs are more about political benefits than issue-based politics: Anupriya Patel

Apna Dal leader and Union Minister Anupriya Patel with BJP National President J.P. Nadda. File

Apna Dal leader and Union Minister Anupriya Patel with BJP National President J.P. Nadda. File

Apna Dal leader and Union Minister Anupriya Patel speaks to The Hindu ’s Nistula Hebbar on Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh and issues related to them.

How are you looking at these elections, especially after the exit of ten MLAs from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to the Samajwadi Party (SP)? Do you think the caste combination that propelled the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to power in the 2014, 2017 and 2019 polls is still intact?

I don’t want to deny the fact that leaders like Swamy Prasad Maurya - ji and Dara Singh Chauhan- ji are prominent faces, they are influential people. However, I always maintain that the movement of MLAs and Ministers from one party to another right before the elections is not taken very well by common voters. Voters understand that such switch-overs are guided more by political benefits rather than issue-based politics. If there was a serious issue with the party where they [those who left] served as Minister or MLA, they could have made the move much before polls. If you do it on the brink of the polls, then it’s more likely that you have doubts about retaining your own seats and you go to another party to increase your chances of winning. That’s how I see it.

You have been a steady ally of the BJP since 2014. How do you negotiate this relationship with a much larger, stronger party?

When we are in an alliance, both partners have to adjust with each other. It cannot be one-sided. We are the smaller party to the BJP but there is no occasion where we have refrained from raising issues which pertain to the ideology of social justice followed by the Apna Dal. These concerns have been attended to and resolved periodically.

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For example, the issue of OBC (Other Backward Class) reservations in NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) examinations — I raised it in the NDA meeting and spoke to the BJP’s top leadership. Serious attention was paid to it by the honourable Prime Minister and the matter was resolved.


The All India Judicial Services is an issue we keep raising with our alliance partners, and we see there is an intent [there] too. Let’s see what happens. We have also been raising the demand for a separate OBC Ministry, and of raising the ‘creamy layer’ limit in OBC reservations to up to ₹15 lakh per annum income, as per the recommendation of the Parliamentary Committee on this.

We don’t refrain from articulating our concerns, and there is a mutual adjustment.

You are also facing a familial issue with the Apna Dal (K) led by your mother allied with the SP. Isn’t it awkward for you?

Not at all, not at all. After my father passed away, I was given the reins of my party by my partymen only. I wasn’t somebody who claimed it on my own. And I think the party has had a beautiful journey since the time I have been at the helm. My people have stood behind me. Yes, there is a slight disturbance, but every time the election results have shown, and you will also appreciate that, the Apna Dal voter has stuck with me. I don’t want to make any tall claims but in these elections also you will see that the voter will be with me.

What is your view on your sister Pallavi Patel contesting against Keshav Maurya in Sirathu?

That’s between the Apna Dal(K) and the SP, I have nothing to say. All I can say is that the NDA will win.

This time, you have also fielded a candidate in western Uttar Pradesh as part of seat adjustment, from Suar, where Haidar Ali, grandson of Congress veteran Begum Noor Bano, is coming up against SP’s Azam Khan. Did the BJP ask you to take that seat or was it your preference?

It was my preference. I want to expand Apna Dal across the length and breadth of the State and we asked for the seat. We found a suitable candidate, a young face, absolutely clean image, and coming from a family that has a political legacy. People in Suar love him. It is good to give opportunities to youngsters like him who are promising and can change the way things are in a place like Rampur, where we have seen what has been happening in the last few years. I have confidence in my candidate.

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Printable version | Jun 10, 2022 5:30:06 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/uttar-pradesh-assembly/uttar-pradesh-assembly-elections-2022-voters-understand-switch-overs-are-more-about-political-benefits-than-issue-based-politics-anupriya-patel/article38388446.ece