The main Opposition Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh has added another OBC-based ally in its march towards the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly election.
The Apna Dal-Kamevarvadi headed by Krishna Patel has announced support for SP president Akhilesh Yadav. Ms. Krishna Patel is the mother of BJP ally and Union Minister Anupriya Patel. The mother and daughter head rival factions of the Apna Dal, with Ms. Anupriya the president of the Apna Dal (Sonelal), named after her father Sone Lal Patel, a former BSP leader. Both factions stake claim to his legacy as well as the Kurmi (OBC) votes especially in the Varanasi and Prayagraj divisions in Purvanchal.
Holding a press conference here on Wednesday after meeting Mr. Yadav, Ms. Krishna Patel said the two parties would contest the election together. Seat allocation would be discussed later, she said.
“Seats were not a big priority for us. Our priority was to walk together,” she said.
After the meeting, Mr. Yadav tweeted that the “movement for equality” would continue with Ms. Krishna Patel on the “important and decisive issue” of caste census.
Mr. Yadav has already got the support of the Rastriya Lok Dal led by Jayant Chaudhary, the Mahan Dal of Keshav Dev Maurya, Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party of Om Prakash Rajbhar and the Janwadi Party (Socialist) of Sanjay Chauhan. These parties, all OBC-based enjoy support among the Jats, Maurya-Kushwaha, Rajbhar and Noniya Chauhan communities, respectively.
In the last few elections, the BJP has successfully managed to polarise the non-Yadav OBCs against the Yadavs, bringing it huge electoral gains. To counter that, Mr. Yadav has tried to expand his caste canvas through alliances with parties and leaders from the non-Yadav OBC communities.
The BJP’s two main allies, the Apna Dal (Sonelal) and the Nishad Party, headed by Sanjay Nishad who claims leadership of the riverine most-backward castes, also come from that non-Yadav OBC category.
Referring to his new experiment at a rally in Lucknow on Thursday, Mr. Yadav said “we are trying to bring together everyone” and promised to provide “ haq ” (due rights) and “ bhagidhari ” (representation) to his OBC allies. The SP had a “colourful alliance,” he said, referring to the different colours of the flags of the allies.