Three days after Anupriya Patel became the youngest member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's council of ministers, the Apna Dal announced that it was severing ties with partner BJP, accusing it of not following the "decorum of alliance".The Apna Dal is led by the new minister's mother KrishnaPatel, who had expelled Anupriya, 35, from the party last year following a family feud. Anupriya Patel, the minister of state for health and family welfare, insists she is still a member of the Uttar Pradesh party her father founded. Her profile on the Lok Sabha website lists Apna Dal as her party.
But the faction led by her mother complained on Thursday that despite the BJP "being informed about the activities of Anupriya, who was expelled, the BJP leaders did not take congnisance of it and did not act." "The national executive of Apna Dal has decided to snap ties with the BJP as it did not follow the decorum of alliance," said party spokesperson RBS Patel. Krishna Patel said the Apna Dal would contest the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, to be held early next year, without the BJP and announced a rally next month in Varanasi, PM Modi's parliamentary constituency. The Apna Dal draws its support from the Kurmis, an agrarian community that is crucial to the BJP's plan to reach out to Dalits and backward castes in Uttar Pradesh in its bid to capture power in the state in 2017.
The BJP had formed a strategic alliance with the Apna Dal for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, allotting it two seats, both of which the party won. The BJP had won 71 of Uttar Pradesh's 80 Lok Sabha seats. Anupriya Patel had won the Lok Sabha seat from Mirzapur which is adjacent to Varanasi. She has since been engaged in a bitter tussle with her mother over control of the party.
Ms Patel's father Sone Lal Patel, a prominent Kurmi leader, had founded Apna Dal in 1995. After his death in 2009, his wife Krishna Patel was made president of the party and his younger daughter Anupriya, its general secretary. Last year, Krishna Patel first suspended her daughter for "anti-party activities" and then "expelled" her. The other Apna Dal member in the Lok Sabha, Haribansh Singh, is loyal to Krishna Patel.
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