Apna Dal (S) strategically fielding candidates in UP, after consulting ally BJP
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PRAYAGRAJ : In a boost to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Kaushambi's Sirathu assembly segment, where deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya is contesting, former MLA Vachaspati joined the Apna Dal (S). Apna Dal (S) is a BJP ally, and Vachaspati is a Dalit, a community that dominates the Sirathu assembly segment. More importantly, Vachaspati was a member of the Samajwadi Party, and BJP leaders believe that his decision to join the Apna Dal (S) is a setback for the main opposition party. Vachaspati was first elected to the seat on a BSP ticket in 2007, and then won the assembly by-election in 2014 on a Samajwadi Party ticket. The by-election was held after Keshav Prasad Maurya resigned from his seat after being elected as MP from Phulpur parliamentary seat.
"Vachaspati owns many educational institutes in Prayagraj, and his wife Madhupati has twice served as a zila panchayat president from Kaushambi," said Apna Dal (S) spokesman Rajesh Patel. Keshav Prasad Maurya was born in Sirathu, where he won his first assembly election in 2012. Apna Dal (S) has also named Jai Kumar Singh Patel 'Jacky' as their candidate for Fatehpur's Bindki assembly constituency. Bindki voted for the BJP in the 2017 UP elections. Jai, a state minister in Yogi Adityanath's cabinet, and MLA currently represents Fatehpur's Jahanabad assembly segment. The Apna Dal and BJP have been discussing each seat and carefully fielding candidates with a specific strategy in mind.
Similarly, in the 2017 assembly elections, Dr Surabhi contested on an SP ticket but was trounced by Amar Singh of the BJP. This time, the BJP chose not to contest the Kaimganj seat, instead handing it over to an ally. The BJP also allocated the Nanpara seat in Bahraich to the AD (S), which fielded Ram Nivas Verma. The saffron party suffered a loss in this seat when its sitting MLA, Madhuhri Verma, switched to the SP. The SP did not contest the 2017 assembly elections from Nanpara, instead handing over the seat to Congress as part of a pre-poll agreement.