BJP ally Apna Dal looks to strengthen its organisation ahead of UP assembly polls

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Emboldened by its good performance in the zila panchayat polls held recently, BJP ally Apna Dal (S) is strengthening its organisation in 200 out of 403 MLA constituencies in the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.

The party’s focus area would stretch from Rampur to Bundelkhand to Ballia, where either the ADS or BJP candidates would be fielded, party’s UP chief Ashish Patel told ET, insisting that seat-sharing talks were yet to begin.

Patel said the party’s organisational strength has improved compared to the 2014, 2017 and 2019 elections, and acceptance of party leader Anupriya Patel has also increased.

ADS has influence over the Kurmi voters in some districts of Purvanchal and Vindhya regions such as Mirzapur, Sonbhadra, Pratapgarh, Varanasi, etc. Like BJP ally JDU in Bihar, ADS has also sought a caste census.

While seat sharing is yet to be formalised, ADS’ performance in zila panchayat polls may give the party a higher bargaining power. While it won just about 150 seats (out of 3,050), in constituencies like Varanasi, where BJP won eight seats, ADS won two. Party leaders said they were second in about half of 40 zila-member wards, implying it defeated the BJP in many of these wards. Similarly, in Banda, Sonbhadra and Mirzapur, ADS performance equalled BJP’s.

“Seat sharing will be finalised only after talks with allies,” Hero Vajpayee, UP BJP spokesman said.

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