- Praveen Nishad defeated the BJP in Gorakhpur in 2018 Lok Sabha bypolls
- He was fielded by the Samajdwai Party then
- Sources say Nishad party is angry at not getting Gorakhpur seat this time
The politician who did the unthinkable by defeating the BJP in Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's Gorakhpur in the 2018 Lok Sabha bypolls may switch over to the BJP, in what could be a blow to the Akhilesh Yadav-Mayawati-Ajit Singh coalition in Uttar Pradesh.
In 2018, Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party's Mayawati launched a test version of their alliance on the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats by taking on the BJP jointly in bypolls to the seats of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Maurya.
In a result they shocked many, and led to the UP gathbandhan in its present state, the SP-BSP joint candidates won both seats.
The victory was astonishing in Gorakhpur, where the Samajdwadi Party has fielded Praveen Nishad of the Nishad Party, an eastern Uttar Pradesh grouping with support from the OBC Nishad community, on a Samajwadi Party symbol. Mr Nishad managed to defeat the BJP on a seat Yogi Adityanath held continuously for over two decades.
Praveen Nishad's father Sanjay heads the Nishad Party. Earlier this week, Samajwadi chief Akhilesh Yadav held a press conference in Lucknow, with Nishad Party leaders besides him, and announced that the Nishad party would be part of the UP gathbandhan. There was speculation that Praveen Nishad would be given the ticket from Gorakhpur again, but Akhilesh Yadav did not announce it.
But within 48 hours, the Nishad Party chief has met with UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and told the media his party was not with the gathbandhan anymore."Akhilesh Yadav had said he'll make announcement on seats for our party. But they didn't put our name on poster/letter or anything. My party workers, authorities, core committee were upset," Mr Nishad said, adding that his party was now free to either contest independently or go with another formation.
The Nishad Party is no more in alliance with the Samajwadi Party," Nikky Nishad, also known as Riteash Nishad, media in-charge of the party told news agency PTI in Gorakhpur.
"There was conflict between the two parties on Maharajganj seat as Nishad Party wanted to contest with its own party symbol where as Samajwadi Party was not ready for it," he added.
The party workers were not willing to contest on the Samajwadi Party symbol and many of them began quitting, he said. "So, our national president Sanjay Nishad ji went to Lucknow and on late Thursday, it was confirmed that the Nishad Party is no more a part of the alliance," he said.
Sources say the Nishad Party is angry at not getting the Gorakhpur seat despite them getting the shock victory there. It's not clear whether the switch to the BJP will go through or whether Akhilesh Yadav will placate the leaders.
(With inputs from PTI)