Pratapgarh: BJP workers protest against likely pact with Apna Dal

Workers of BJP’s Pratapgarh unit Friday staged a demonstration and locked party office in protest against a likely alliance between Apna Dal and BJP on at least three Lok Sabha seats, Phulpur and Mirzapur being the other two.
Apna Dal, led by general secretary Anurpiya Patel, has been in talks with the central leadership for an alliance with the BJP and is demanding at least three seats.

While Pratapgarh workers have made their disapproval public, workers and office-bearers of the other two constituencies, too, are jittery about the likely alliance.

The workers in Pratapgarh gathered at the party office early in the noon, shouted slogans and locked the party office.

“The lock-out was for an hour. The district president was not in office them. He has assured the workers that the message would be conveyed,” said Dheeraj Ojha, district vice-president of the local BJP unit.

Ojha added the workers want that the candidate from Pratapgarh should fight on the symbol of kamal (lotus).

He added they would have no problem if Apna Dal merged with the BJP.
District BJP president Devanand Tripathi, however, said: “I am not in office since morning. If somebody has staged a protest, I will get the details. But nothing serious has come to my knowledge. The party unit will accept the central leadership’s decision.”

Another party official wondered why was the leadership negotiating with Apna Dal at all. “We were confident that we would have managed to sail through,” he said.

Rajkumari Ratna Singh of Congress is the sitting MP from Pratapgarh. Rajendra Pratap Singh alias Moti Singh, the MLA from Patti, is among the main contenders.

“When the voter would go to a booth and look for kamal, he may not find it. With little time left, it will be difficult to educate voters to press the button against some other symbol,” said a senior office-bearer of Mirzapur district.

The local units also argue that Apna Dal did not perform well in its influence pockets even as it claims to be representing the Patel community.

In Mirzapur, for instance, Apna Dal candidates could garner a few thousand votes in all the five Assembly segments there.

At the same time, BJP does not have a single MLA in Mirzapur, with Om Prakash Singh, a party stalwart, losing in 2012. His son, Anurag Singh, is now a contender for party ticket.

In Phulpur, national spokesperson Siddhartha Nath Singh and MLA from Sirathu in Kaushambi, Keshav Prasad Maurya, are believed to be the main contenders. Phulpur, incidentally, has two city segments — City (North) and City (West) — besides the rural belt of Soraon, Phaphamau and Phulpur. The BJP again does not have any MLA in these segments.

Party sources still claimed with Modi wave all around, it would have been better to look for votes from all communities rather than trying to ride only on Patel votes.

Traditionally, the Patel community in this belt has been a BJP voter.

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