The Congress party has finalised the seat-sharing agreement with the Apna Dal - led by Krishna Patel – for upcoming Lok Sabha elections by giving it two seats in Uttar Pradesh. The two Lok Sabha constituencies on which the Apna Dal will field its candidates are - Gonda and Pilibhit, the Congress announced.
Pankaj Niranjan Singh Chandel, the son-in-law of Patel, joined the Congress in the presence of party president Rahul Gandhi and general secretaries Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Jyotiraditya Scindia. Patel was also present there.
Krishna Patel's daughter and union minister Anupriya Patel, who leads the Apna Dal (Sonelal), has tied up with the BJP on Friday. BJP president Amit Shah announced the agreement on Twitter, saying that Apna Dal (S) leader and Union minister Anupriya Patel would again contest from Mirzapur.
Shah said the second seat would be finalised later after deliberations between leaders of both the parties. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Apna Dal (S), which has nine MLA in the state assembly, had contested on two seats in a pre-poll alliance with the BJP. Then also, Anupriya Patel had contested from Mirzapur.
The Apna Dal (S) has presence in over 15 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh with its core voter base of Kurmi-Patel, and nearly one lakh of them only in the prime minister's constituency.
The development comes as a big boost to the BJP which had been struggling with the issue of dissenting allies in the state. The party has now managed to placate both its sulking allies - Apna Dal (S) and Om Prakash Rajbhar's SBSP - which had been unhappy over the ‘high-handed’ approach adopted by the party towards them.