Another NDA ally Apna Dal is in news, the faction led by Anupriya Patel, of its ongoing negotiations with the Bhartiya Janata Party ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The party has relevance in eastern Uttar Pradesh. However, past electoral performances indicate to party’s irrelevance.
Apna Dal was founded by Dr Sonelal Patel in 1995, who never won an assembly or Lok Sabha election.
In 1996 Assembly elections in UP, the party contested on 155 seats, forfeited deposit on 154. Its best performance was in Varanasi’s Gangapur seat, a large part of which is now in Rohania seat after the delimitation.
In 1998 Lok Sabha elections, it contested on 46 seats, best place it managed was 4th, including of its founder. Its best performance was in Varanasi, managing ~65000 votes.
In 1999 Lok Sabha elections, it contested on 45 seats, best place it managed was 3rd, in Varanasi, getting ~83000 votes. Founder managed to cross 1lac votes, contesting from Phulpur, came 4th
In 2002 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, it contested 227 seats, forfeited its deposit on 216 seats, managed to win 3. Notable amongst the winner was Atiq Ahmed, the famed Don, from Allahabad West. It also managed to win Gangapur, where Surendra Patel won, who is now in Samajwadi Party.
In 2004 LS elections, it contested 57 seats, managed its best position of 3rd in Varanasi, getting ~93000 votes. Founder came 4th in Phulpur, managing ~80000 votes
In 2007 UP assembly elections, it fought on 39 seats, forfeited its deposit on 29 seats. Surendra Singh Patel who had won in 2002 contested on SP ticket & won Gangapur seat.
In 2009 LS elections, it contested on 30 seats, the best performance was 4th by Don Atiq Ahmed from Pratapgarh. In Varanasi, it managed ~65000 votes
In 2012 state assembly elections, it contested on 76 seats, forfeited its deposit on 69 seats, managing to win Rohania. Anupriya Patel, daughter of the founder, won the Rohania seat.
When Anupriya Patel won the Mirzapur LS seat in 2014, the vacant seat was won by a Samajwadi Party candidate.
It is factually incorrect to call Apna Dal popular amongst voters in eastern UP. At best, it exists in 3-4 assembly seats, Rohania and its neighboring constituencies touching Mirzapur and Bhadohi, and has a reasonable presence in 2-3 Lok Sabha seats, namely Mirzapur & Pratapgarh.
Its significance for the BJP stems from the fact that, because of a single assembly constituency, namely Rohania, it has the loyalty of around 70,000 voters in Varanasi, which can hurt the electoral chances of BJP in Varanasi. Otherwise, the party is electorally irrelevant.
Though it has managed to win 9 seats in 2017 UP assembly elections, 2 more than the Congress, it was only because of alliance with the BJP that did spectacularly well. Counting on it and getting into an alliance with Apna Dal, conceding seats would be foolish for any party.
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