BJP making inroads in SP, RLD votebanks


As the Parliamentary elections of 2024 are approaching fast, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is well on course to raise its voters’ base by making a huge dent in the Opposition Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) in Purvanchal and Western Uttar Pradesh. So far, three MLAs and one former MP have joined the Saffron party.
About 18 leaders from backward-Dalit class have taken membership of the BJP. Saheb Singh Saini, a former minister in the SP government joined the BJP today. He has influence in many districts of West UP and Uttarakhand.
Former minister and former MP Rajpal Saini also embraced the BJP. He is also a big Saini leader of Muzaffarnagar and nearby districts. In fact, in West UP, Saharanpur and Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh have a significant number of voters from the Saini community.
All parties have given full participation to this fraternity from time to time. But in the by-election held on December 5, 2022, in the Khatauli Assembly seat of Saharanpur Mandal, BJP candidate Rajkumari Saini (former Pradhan Kawal), wife of former MLA Vikram Saini, lost the election to SP-backed RLD candidate Madan Bhaiyya of Gurjar fraternity by a huge margin of 22,000 votes.
Despite tight strategy and star campaigners, BJP could not win the Khatauli seat. Since then, BJP has been mulling to attract the Saini community leader.
The case of former minister Dr. Dharam Singh Saini, who was earlier in BJP and after being caught in the AYUSH recruitment scam, has been postponed for the time being as he is trying to get closer to the BJP through Om Prakash Rajbhar.
BJP has also included many former MLAs from Purvanchal. Among them, former MLA Sushma Patel contested from Mungarabadshahpur in 2017 on BSP ticket and became MLA by defeating the then BJP MLA Seema Dwivedi. But, in the year 2020, BSP national president Mayawati suspended him from the party for his involvement in anti-party activities. Since then, she was trying to come closer to the Samajwadi Party (SP). Sushma Patel’s husband Ranjit Singh has already quit the government service and joined SP. The SP made him contest the elections in 2022 from Madiyahun. She had lost the election. Former MLA Jagdish Sonkar, who came to BJP, was elected MLA from Shahganj in 2002 and 2007. After this, in 2012, the SP fielded Shailendra Yadav Lalai from this seat, while Jagdish Sonkar was made a candidate for the reserved quota of Machhalishahar seat from where he scored his hat-trick of victory by stopping the BSP which was winning for two consecutive times.
After this, when the SP government was formed in the state, he was made the Minister of State. In the Modi wave in 2017 also, SP had fielded Jagdish Sonkar, who made a record of winning four consecutive times by getting 72,368 votes. In 2022, SP had given ticket to Ragini Sonkar in her place.
Since then, Jagdish Sonkar was running angry. Four-time MLA and former minister Jagdish Sonkar joined the BJP. Former MLA from Jaunpur’s Kerakat, Gulab Saroj also joined BJP, while former MP from Hardoi, Anshul Verma again joined BJP.
While Anshul, Gulab Saroj and Jagdish Sonkar come from the Dalit community, Sushma Patel represents the backward Kurmi caste. Along with this, Shalini Yadav, who contested the last Lok Sabha elections against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also joined BJP. Shalini had joined SP after leaving Congress. The same day, the SP made him its candidate against Modi from Varanasi. Earlier, she had also contested the mayoral election on Congress ticket. Shalini is the daughter-in-law of Shyam Lal Yadav, a former Congress MP and deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha. BJp has aggressively started its outreach in UP in time for elections as UP remains an important state for BJP . What remains to be seen is what next is SP going to do with so many exits and jolts