A few days after breaking from the SP-BSP-RLD alliance in Uttar Pradesh, on Tuesday, the Nishad party has launched new allegations. The party said that SP chief Akhilesh Yadav was working under Mayawati's 'pressure' and expressed confidence that the BJP will give it an adequate number of seats in the state before the Lok Sabha polls begin.
On March 29, barely three days since joining the alliance, the Nishad party took everyone by surprise by parting ways with the emerging anti-BJP alliance and thereafter, met Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Sanjay Nishad, the party's president said, "We have spoken to the BJP leadership and are awaiting a positive response from its president, Amit Shah. There is no bargaining from our side. I trust them (BJP). Our main issue is of reservation and we want to contest the polls on our party symbol."
Citing his reasons for breaking away from the alliance, Nishad said that he wanted the Gorakhpur and Maharajganj seats on which he was given assurance by the SP chief, Akhilesh Yadav.
"But later, I was offered one seat and was asked to contest on the SP's symbol, for which I am not ready. I wanted to contest on my own party symbol 'Bhojan Bhari Thali' (plate with food). Akhilesh is working under pressure from (BSP supremo) Mayawati and betrayed me. So, I had to take the decision," he said
Nishad added that he had arranged a meeting with the BJP's leader and cabinet minister, Sidharth Nath Singh, whom he said he has grown to trust. He expressed the hope that he will get a positive response from BJP.
He also said that he had organised a meeting of SP and Nishad party members on April 12 in Gorakhpur, but it was cancelled by the SP. "There was resentment among my party's cadre, which was earlier alerting me as they expected betrayal by the SP," Nishad said.
Earlier, Sanjay Nishad's Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal (Nishad Party) had contested the Gorakhpur parliamentary by-poll in 2018 on the SP symbol and his son, Praveen Nishad, defeated BJP's Upendra Dutt Shukla by over 21,000 votes.
It was considered a major setback for CM Yogi Adityanath as he had represented the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat several times before. While Praveen secured 4,56,513 votes, Shukla got 4,34,632 votes and Congress candidate Surheeta Kareem got only 18,858 votes.
This comes in contrast to what he had said last week. After joining the SP-BSP-RLD alliance, Nishad had attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi by calling him a 'jumlebaaz' and had used the same epithet for CM Adityanath.
He had said that the Constitution, youth and farmers are in grave danger and that the people had voted for a 'Jumlebaaz' party because of their false promises. He even went on to say that PM Modi and CM Adityanath had made a lot of promises for the Nishad community but failed to live up to any of them. He had stressed on the fact that the Nishad community would give full support to the SP-BSP alliance in all of the state.
Nishad had also fielded 100 candidates in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly election in alliance with the Peace Party, the Apna Dal (Krishna Patel faction) and the Jan Adhikar Party. The party was formed in 2016 to empower Nishads, Kewats, Binds and other communities, whose livelihoods are dependent on rivers. Members of these communities are mostly boatmen or fishermen, and are demanding schedule caste status.
(With PTI inputs)