Rift to mar Apna Dal prospects

Rift to mar Apna Dal prospects
The turf war between the father and the son (Mulayam and Akhilesh) may have abated, if not completely ended, but Uttar Pradesh is all set to witness another family battle in the forthcoming Assembly polls — between a mother and a daughter. Interestingly, the battle there, like in the Samajwadi Party, is also for capturing the party — Apna Dal, a predominantly caste-based outfit founded by Sonelal Patel in 1995.

Union Minister Anupriya Patel — who has been given 12 seats by the BJP with which she has an alliance — and mother Krishna Patel will campaign against each other in the polls. Anupriya and Krishna (who has the backing of her younger daughter Pallavi) have staked their claims to the party, which witnessed a vertical split in 2014 after Anupriya, the general secretary of Apna Dal, won the Lok Sabha poll from Mirzapur seat in alliance with the BJP and became a minister in the Union cabinet.

Krishna Patel, who had taken control of the party after her husband’s death, had contested from Rohaniya Assembly seat vacated by Anupriya, but lost. She alleged that there was a conspiracy against her within the party to defeat her and accused Anupriya of being involved in the same. Krishna Patel later appointed younger daughter Pallavi as the vice president of the party. Anupriya, however, termed the decision illegal and later, in a specially convened meeting of the party, removed Krishna as the national president. Anupriya was then anointed as the national president of Apna Dal.

A miffed Krishna expelled Anupriya from the party, paving the way for its vertical division. The Krishna Patel faction has fielded its nominees in around 150 seats, mainly in the eastern region in the state where ‘Kurmi’ voters are in sizeable numbers.

The seats also include those from where Anupriya’s faction, which had got itself registered as Apna Dal (S), put up its candidates. Krishna Patel’s nominees could also bag a chunk of the ‘Kurmi’ votes in other seats, though they might not win, thus damaging the BJP.

The ‘Kurmi’ community, which constitutes around 4% of the total electorate in the state, played a crucial role in deciding the outcome of the polls in about 20 to 25 seats in Varanasi, Mirzapur, Pratapgarh, Allahabad and Fatehpur districts.

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