If it is a sign of things to come, BJP’s stock seems to be going down – at least among its allies, if not among the voters.
After its troubles with allies in Bihar and Maharashtra, now it is the BJP’s junior allies in Uttar Pradesh expressing their unhappiness and threatening to ditch the alliance if the party does not give them due consideration.
Soon after the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) walked out of the BJP alliance in Assam, the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) and Apna Dal (Sonelal) threatened to part ways if the BJP did not change its attitude to smaller parties in the alliance in Uttar Pradesh, said a report in The Indian Express (IE).
Backward Classes Welfare minister and SBSP chief Om Prakash Rajbhar gave the BJP a 100-day ultimatum to fulfil his demands of implementing reservation within the 27 per cent OBC quota.
Apna Dal (S) coordinator and Union Minister Anupriya Patel said that her party may take “any decision” if the state BJP leadership continued to ignore her party workers.
“Every time there is an election, the BJP gets votes with help from allies. Later, they refuse to take the allies along. The Apna Dal has come to know this now but I know it for last 21 months. Be it the Shiv Sena, Upendra Kushwaha or Ram Vilas Paswan, none of them are in an understanding with the BJP at present,” Rajbhar told The Indian Express on the sidelines of a monthly party meet in Lucknow.
“If the BJP wants to take us along in the polls we are ready, otherwise we are going to contest all 80 Lok Sabha seats on our own. If the BJP implements quota within the 27 per cent reservation then only we are with them,” he said.
He threatened to part ways with the BJP if they did not meet his demands within 100 days. “If they do not implement our quota demand, I will part ways with the BJP. The committee (Social Justice Committee) report is already with the Chief Minister and he should implement that,” he said.
Recently, a four-member social justice committee has reportedly recommended that 79 OBC communities should be subdivided into three categories. As per the recommendation, the categories should be Backward Class, Most Backward Class and Extremely Backward Class with respectively seven per cent, 11 per cent and nine per cent reservation.
Taking a dig at UP Chief Minister Yogi Adiytanath, Rajbhar said, “There was a time when we had an understanding but it cannot continue anymore. You be angry or happy, we now have our separate ways,” he said.
“Yogi has only to save cows and I have to give education to the poor. We are different,” was his terse remark.
Earlier, speaking at the inauguration of her party office at 1-A Mall Avenue, Anupriya Patel said her party did not have complaints with the central BJP leadership but rather with the party unit in UP.
Anupriya Patel alleged that the Yogi-led BJP government in the state wants backwards to fight among themselves in the name of reservation.
Denying the recommendations of the Social Justice Committee report, Patel alleged that the state government is not getting Census done on the basis of caste. She also demanded that the distribution of quota within the 27 per cent OBC quota should be on the basis of the population of every community.
“The UP government is not ready for caste-based Census and thus wants backward to fight among themselves. We also demand that reservation should also be considered in contractual jobs as well. Even backwards should be posted at Tehsil and Police Stations in a respectable proportion,” she added.
“We are not going to compromise with the honour of our workers. Our party has always fulfilled the coalition dharma and we will keep doing so. We raise the demands of our workers at every forum but our workers were ignored. Now, we had to come to the media,” she said.
Apna Dal (S) president Ashish Patel suggested that instead of worrying about the Opposition alliance, the state BJP leadership should think about their own allies.
Ashish Patel said, “Small parties and allies are being ignored in the BJP government. Their demands are not being met. The upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha Elections can go anyway if the allies are not given due respect and importance. The BJP should not force anyone to become a ‘Vibheeshan’, especially at a time when SP-BSP alliance can pose a grave threat to the BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.”
Earlier, the Apna Dal (S) had announced last month that its president Ashish Patel and Anupriya will not participate in any events led by the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh till their issues with the BJP are resolved.
Ashish Patel, while addressing a press conference in Mirzapur, had said: “The BJP should learn from the losses in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh assembly elections. The SP-BSP alliance is a challenge for the NDA, whose allies in UP are upset. The leadership at the Centre must do something, or else the NDA would suffer in UP.” He also said that smaller parties were feeling ‘ignored’ by the BJP.
However, the BJP had dismissed reports of rift and termed it a “minor misunderstanding”. BJP leader and Union minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey had said there was no anger or ill will, adding there may have been some misunderstanding whose solution will be arrived at.