A week after Bihar ally Upendra Kushwaha quit the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), BJP's partner in Uttar Pradesh, Apna Dal (Sonelal), has expressed discontent, saying the party is not getting respect from the state BJP leadership. The party's chief Ashish Patel - whose wife Anupriya Patel is the Union Minister of State for Health - said BJP's partners in Uttar Pradesh are upset and the party must address the issue. Mr Patel also said that the party must learn from its recent losses in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, where the Congress formed the government.
"State BJP leadership isn't giving us the respect we deserve. They should learn from recent losses. The SP-BSP alliance is a challenge for us. Allies in Uttar Pradesh are upset. Leadership at the centre must do something, else NDA (National Democratic Alliance) would suffer in the state," said Mr Patel.
"We small parties, like the Apna Dal(S), want some respect to be shown to us. We, our leaders and workers feel hurt if due importance is not given to us," he added.
Mr Patel claimed Anupriya Patel was not invited for the inaugurations of medical colleges.
He refused to divulge anything on his party's expectation as to the number of seats it wants to contest 2019 Lok Sabha elections on. He said it would be revealed when the time comes.
The defeat in the three Hindi heartland states is a matter of concern, but the party has not weakened, Mr Patel observed, adding the party leadership should review the poll outcome.
He is not the only ally in Uttar Pradesh to have openly talked about differences with the state leadership. Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party leader Om Prakash Rajbhar, a UP cabinet minister, has been making comments against the BJP and its policies in the state and at the centre. In November, the party called Mr Rajbhar a necessary evil.
Upendra Kushwaha recently quit the NDA after he was reportedly offered two seats for 2019 polls. He joined the proposed anti-BJP alliance.
With inputs from agencies
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