The BJP on Tuesday formally announced its alliance in Uttar Pradesh, partnering smaller parties Apna Dal and Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP). The move is expected to give the Amit Shah-led party claim over non-Yadav OBC votes and support from a section of Dalits.
Besides, the BJP also fielded its OBC Morcha President Dara Singh Chauhan from Madhuban and prominent BSP import Swami Prasad Maurya from Padrauna constituency.
SBSP chief RK Choudhary, who quit the BSP last year to float his own party, has been fielded from the Mohanlalgunj reserved seat. Choudhary is a prominent leader of the Pasi community, believed generally to be the second-largest Scheduled Caste in UP, the biggest being Jatavs, a community to which BSP supremo Mayawati belongs.
The BJP also took care to keep its upper caste support base in good humour, allotting about 22 of the total 67 tickets in its third list of candidates to Brahmins, Thakurs and Bhumihars in the eastern UP region.
With the release of its third list on Tuesday, the BJP has so far declared 370 candidates for the 403-member UP Assembly.
“This is a very crucial election in Uttar Pradesh. There is a wave for change where people are tired of over a decade of misrule,” BJP leader Arun Singh said.
He, however, did not disclose the specific seats that had been allotted to the alliance partners. The SBSP has been asking for eight seats in the eastern UP region, including Mau (Sadar), Bansdeeh (Ballia district), Zahorabad and Jakhania (Ghazipur district), Ramkola (Kushinagar district), Ajgara (Varanasi district) and Shahgunj in Jaunpur district. None of these constituencies were part of the list announced on Tuesday.
Apna Dal has been asking for about ten seats in Varanasi, Allahabad and Mirzapur districts in eastern UP. Apna Dal, founded by the late Sonelal Patel, is representative of the Kurmi community among the OBCs. The alliance signals the BJP’s attempts to wean away the non-Yadav OBCs from the Samajwadi Party (SP).
The BJP has reason to be optimistic about UP in the wake of its extraordinary performance in the Lok Sabha elections, when it won 71 seats on its own and cornered 42.63 per cent of the vote share. To defeat the BJP, its competitors will need almost a 12 per cent swing away from the party. The combined vote share of the Congress and the SP during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls was 29.88 per cent.