Other States

Vikassheel Insaan Party to contest U.P. Assembly election next year

Mukesh Sahani  

National Democratic Alliance constituent in Bihar Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) led by Mukesh Sahani will contest the upcoming Assembly election in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh next year.

Also read: Ahead of 2022, Nishad Party seeks larger share in power from ally BJP

Mr. Sahani is Minister of Animal Husbandry and Fish Resources in the NDA alliance government led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in Bihar. His party VIP has four MLAs in the State Assembly.

Mr. Sahani’s party, though, has not yet decided whether it will contest as part of the NDA or in alliance with other parties.

Also read: BJP gets into battle mode for 2022 Assembly poll

“Our first preference will be to fight an alliance with the BJP, as our party is part of the NDA, but we’re also keeping our options open”, said Mr. Sahani, a former Bollywood set designer.

Mr. Sahani formed the VIP in 2018.

Also read: BSP to contest alone in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand Assembly elections: Mayawati

“We’ve identified around 150 seats in U.P. where the party can put up candidates”, Mr. Sahani added.

Mr. Sahani comes from the Nishad (fishermen and boatmen) community, which is about 14% of U.P.’s population and said to dominate nearly 160 seats out of 403 Assembly seats in the State. In nearly 70 Assembly constituencies, the population of Nishad is over 75,000.

On July 3, the VIP has scheduled a programme in Lucknow to open party offices in all divisions of the State to gear up for the upcoming Assembly election.

“Besides, the party will also observe the death anniversary of slain former bandit queen and former MP Phoolan Devi on July 25 all across U.P. as part of its focus to mobilise Nishad and other sub-castes in the community”, said Mr. Sahani.

“I’ll be attending a programme in Gorakhpur and NDA leaders too will be invited on the occasion”, Mr. Sahani told reporters in Patna on Thursday.

Phoolan Devi, who belonged to the Nishad community, was killed in New Delhi on July 25, 2001.

In the 2019 Parliamentary poll, the VIP had contested three seats in Bihar in alliance with the Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)and the Congress but did not emerge victorious in any of them.

In 2020, just ahead of the Bihar Assembly poll, the VIP walked out of the RJD-led mahagathbandhan and joined hands with the NDA.

Under the NDA alliance, the party was given 11 seats to contest the Assembly poll, of which it won four but Mr. Sahani himself lost from Simri-Bakhtiyarpur seat and got elected to the State council in January this year to become a minister in the Nitish Kumar Cabinet.

However, Mr. Sahani is currently said to be upset with the NDA in Bihar for ignoring him in the selection of 12 MLCs from Governor’s quota in March this year.

He recently had a closed-door meeting with another NDA ally Jitan Ram Manjhi, a move that triggered speculation in the State’s political circles. Mr. Manjhi, though, later asserted that he was part of the NDA and there was no reason for being upset.

Days ago, the Nishad Party in U.P., which is an ally of the ruling BJP in the State, had demanded the post of Deputy Chief Minister for its leader Sanjay Nishad, “if the alliance wins the Assembly poll in 2022”.

The Nishad Party has one MLA in U.P., while Sanjay Nishad’s son Pravin is a BJP MP from Sant Kabir Nagar.

Political analysts said that “the BJP may have planned to counter the Nishad Party or clip its electoral wings by bringing in the VIP for the U.P. poll”.

“But the VIP has no organisational base in U.P.”, opined Ajay Kumar, a political analyst.

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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 4:35:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/vikassheel-insaan-party-to-contest-up-assembly-election-next-year/article34960830.ece

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