BJP national president Amit Shah is likely to announce the alliance on Saturday in Mau district.PREPARING FOR the 2017 Assembly polls, the BJP is set to ally with Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) — a small outfit with considerable influence on backward and Dalit voters in eastern UP districts.
SBSP had contested the 2012 UP polls and 2014 Lok Sabha elections in alliance with jailed-mafia Mukhtar Ansari’s Quami Ekta Dal (QED), in news recently for its merger into SP being called off.
BJP national president Amit Shah is likely to announce the alliance on Saturday in Mau district, where he would address a ‘Ati-pichhda Ati-Dalit mahapanchayat” organised by SBSP.The development comes days after BJP inducted Apna Dal MP Anupriya Patel in the Union Cabinet, keeping an eye on ‘Kurmi’ votes. “After Apna Dal, the alliance with SBSP will strengthen BJP in UP against SP ahead of the Assembly polls,” BJP state spokesperson Chandra Mohan said.
When contacted, SBSP president Om Prakash Rajbhar confirmed that the alliance would be announced on Saturday. “While BJP president Amit Shah is the chief guest at the rally, party’s state president Keshav Prasad Maurya and Railway Minister Manoj Sinha will also be present,” he said, adding that BJP is likely to give SBSP 22 seats to contest in Azamgarh, Basti, Gorakhpur, Faizabad and Varanasi divisions.
Claiming that SBSP has a strong following among backward, most backward castes and Dalits in eastern UP, Rajbhar said: “We have at least 5,000 voters in each of the 150-odd constituencies of eastern UP. We are contesting elections since 2002 and have lost by narrow margins… The alliance will help SBSP, BJP and Apna Dal in the 2017 polls.”
Asked about not going with QED in the 2017 polls, Rajbhar said: “QED has no organisational base… It is based in Ghazipur and (runs) in the name of Mukhtar Ansari only.”
In 2012 UP polls, SBSP had contested 52 seats and its candidates secured around 4.77 lakh votes. Apna Dal, on the other hand, had contested 76 seats and bagged 6.78 lakh votes. It had won one seat — Rohaniya, which went to Anupriya Patel. She is currently the MP from Mirzapur.
SBSP had contested UP polls in 2002, 2007 and 2012 and Lok Sabha elections of 2004 and 2009 and 2014. In 2012 and 2014, it had contested in alliance with QED. Two QED candidates — Mukhtar Ansari and his brother Sigbatullah Ansari — had won the elections. “SBSP’s candidates had lost elections with narrow margins, but QED’s two candidates won because of our support,” Rajbhar claimed.
“Alliance with Apna Dal and SBSP will help BJP in countering ruling SP and JD(U) because Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is touring eastern UP, targeting BJP,” said a BJP leader.