Uttar Pradesh Assembly election | Smaller parties explore electoral success outside PurvanchalLUCKNOW January 29, 2022 15:08 IST
Apna Dal (Sonelal) and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party are trying to explore success outside their traditional strongholds in eastern U.P.
So far, the Apna Dal (S), headed by Union Minister Anupriya Patel, an ally of the BJP, has declared candidates for three seats, all of them outside Purvanchal, where it has popular support in the Mirzapur-Prayagraj-Varanasi belts. In 2017, it won nine seats, all of them in the eastern parts, including Mirzapur, Varanasi, Sonbhadra, Pratapgarh and Jaunpur.
Springing a surprise this time, the Apna Dal has fielded Haider Ali Khan, a member of the erstwhile Rampur royalty from Suar seat in Rohilkhand in northwest U.P. against Abdullah Azam, son of senior SP leader Azam Khan, who is currently lodged in jail and is the candidate from Rampur Sadar.
The Apna Dal, which claims influence among the Kurmi OBC community which is traditionally associated with farming, has also declared candidates for Ghatampur in Kanpur and Kaimganj in Farukkhabad in central U.P. In Ghatampur, it has fielded Saroj Kureel, who had secured a second spot as a BSP candidate in 2017. BJP MLA from Ghatampur and Cabinet Minister Kamal Rani died of COVID-19 in 2020.
In Kaimganj, the party has declared Surabhi as its candidate. She was the SP’s candidate from the seat in 2017.
In Sandila seat in Hardoi, which has a substantial population of non-Yadav OBCs and Dalits, the SBSP has fielded its State president, Sunil Arkvanshi. It has also named candidates in Misrikh in Sitapur and Balha in Bahraich, both reserved seats. In 2017, the SBSP won four seats out of the eight it contested, all of them in east U.P. Mr. Rajbhar himself won from Zahoorabad in Ghazipur but his son Arvind Rajbhar lost in Bansdih in Ballia. This time, sources said, the senior Rajbhar, who was a Cabinet Minister in the BJP government till he was expelled for rebellion in 2019, is expected to contest from Shivpur in Varanari and take on the BJP’s own Rajbhar face, Anil Rajbhar.
The Apna Dal S has declared another candidate, Rashmi Arya, former MLA, from Mauranipur in Jhansi. She had contested on SP ticket in 2017 and stood second.