Battle for UP: Nishad claims 15 deats, BJP yet to confirm
Lucknow: Nishad President Sanjay Nishad has claimed that his party will contest in 15 Assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh as part of an alliance with the BJP.
However, Sanjay Nishad said that the seats are yet to be finalised, adding that that he will be meeting senior BJP leaders on Monday to finalise the constituencies where the party will field its candidates.
“We have got 15 seats (out of 403 seats) to contest in alliance with the BJP. The seats are almost final. Most of the seats are in ‘Purvanchal’ (east Uttar Pradesh) and some are in western Uttar Pradesh. There are some seats which we want to change due to changing equations. We are focusing not only on seat but ‘jeet’,” he said.
However, BJP leaders refused to comment on Sanjay Nishad’s claim and a party functionary said: “We are not aware of this seat sharing because no such information has bene communicated to us till now.”
The Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aaam Dal, or Nishad party, was formed in 2016 and its leaders claim to enjoy support of the Nishad community, which is one of the Other Backward Classes (OBC).
Sanjay Nishad said his party has built cadre base all over the state and has substantial influence in Gorakhpur, Ballia, Sant Kabir Nagar, Ambedkar Nagar, Jaunpur, Bhadohi, Sultanpur, Faizabad, Chitrakoot, Jhansi, Banda, Hamirpur and Etawah districts.
The party fielded 100 candidates in the 2017 assembly election in alliance with the Peace Party of India, Apna Dal and the Jan Adhikar Party, but could win just one seat — Gyanpur in Bhadohi district.
Sanjay Nishad, now a member of the Legislative Council, had contested the last Assembly election from Gorakhpur Rural and came third.
In the 2018 Lok Sabha by-election, Sanjay Nishad’s son Praveen Kumar Nishad was a Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate and wrested the Gorakhpur constituency from the BJP which had been winning the seat since 1989.
Praveen Kumar Nishad is now a BJP MP from Sant Kabir Nagar.
The Nishad community is the second largest demographic group in Gorakhpur, the home constituency of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Talking about the virtual campaigning in the prevailing pandemic, Sanjay Nishad said: “We have associated youth workers who extensively use social media and digital offices of the party is functional in 70 districts (out of total 75). We are active on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp.”
On reports that the BJP will be fielding people with criminal background from his party’s quota, he said: “We will go through the image of every candidate and his acceptance among party workers and people. If people and workers like a candidate, he can be given a chance.”
Commenting on ministers and legislators, belonging to the OBC castes, joining SP ahead of the election, Nishad said, “They had no popularity. They were praising and giving positive report card for Prime Minister and Chief Minister till now but when their personal demands were not met, they left the BJP. People now understand such leaders.”
Sanjay Nishad, however, admitted that SP is in a direct fight with the BJP, but added that the ruling coalition will win more than 300 seats.
“BJP takes all castes along. In the first list of candidates, majority of OBCs were given tickets. Its acceptance is good on the ground also due to works done by both the central and state governments,” he said.