In a setback to the BSP-SP-RLD alliance in Uttar Pradesh, the Nishad Party which holds significant base in some parts of Eastern UP has decided to part ways with the alliance and is likely to join hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhikesh Yadav has fielded Ram Bhuwal Nishad from the Gorakhpur seat.
This decision was taken by Akhilesh Yadav after Nishad Party decided to withdraw support to the alliance two days after hitting out at the BJP in a joint press conference with the Samajwadi Party chief on March 27.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Nishad Party president Sanjay Nishad had said, “We have decided to withdraw our support to the ganthbandhan. The SP chief assured us of announcing seats for our party in the alliance but this didn’t happen. The party leaders and workers were also upset after our name was ignored in releases and publications.”
Immediately after issuing the statement, Sanjay Nishad along with his son Praveen, who had won the Gorakhpur seat in 2018 bypolls after contesting from SP symbol, met UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath at his residence in Lucknow.
The BJP’s decision to reach out to Nishad Party, which outflanked the BJP in UP CM’s stronghold, has been taken to counter the electoral challenge from the gathbandhan and get support of more than three lakh Nishad voters in Gorakhpur.
Sources say that the BJP is likely to give two seats to Nishad Party in exchange for its support. Both Sanjay and Praveen are expected to meet BJP chief Amit Shah in Delhi soon.
Praveen Nishad, the sitting MP from Gorakhpur is likely to contest again from his parliamentary constituency while BJP can also offer Maharajganj or Mau Lok Sabha seat to Nishad Party.
However, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav’s decision of fielding two-time MLA from Gorakhpur (rural) Ram Bhuwal Nishad has been taken strategically to split Nishad voters in the constituency.
The other candidate announced by the SP is Ram Kumar for the Kanpur Lok Sabha seat who has served as an MLA from the Unnao (Sadar) seat. His father was an MP from Kanpur and his brother, Deepak, was elected from the Unnao Lok Sabha seat in 1999.
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