Lucknow: Days after breaking away from the SP-BSP-RLD alliance in Uttar Pradesh, the Nishad Party Tuesday alleged that 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 to contest the Lok Sabha polls.
Barely three days after joining the alliance, the Nishad Party on March 29 sprang a surprise by parting ways with the fledgling anti-BJP alliance and meeting Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
"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," Nishad Party president and founder Sanjay Nishad told PTI.
The Nishad 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.
On why he decided to part ways with the alliance, Nishad said, "I wanted the Gorakhpur and Maharajganj seats on which I 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
"In the BJP, its leader and cabinet minister Sidharth Nath Singh, whom I trust, arranged my meeting. I am hopeful that I will be getting positive response from them (BJP)," Nishad said.
He said 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.
"The party workers were not willing to contest on the SP symbol and many of them began quitting. The SP did not put our name on the posters/letters or anything. Our party workers, authorities, core committee were upset with it," he said.
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 seen as a major setback for Chief Minister Adityanath as he had represented the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat several times before.Whie Praveen secured 4,56,513 votes, Shukla got 4,34,632 votes and Congress candidate Surheeta Kareem got only 18,858 votes.
After joining the SP-BSP-RLD alliance last week, Nishad had attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi by calling him a 'jumlebaz' and had used the same epithet for Adityanath.
"Our Constitution, youth and farmers' futures are in grave danger. People voted for a 'jumlebaz' party because of their false promises," he had said.
"Modi and Yogi promised many things for the Nishad community (boatmen) but nothing was done. The Nishad community will now give full support to the SP-BSP alliance in all the state," Nishad had said after joining the alliance.
Nishad, a former BSP member had 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.
Nishad Party candidate Vijay Mishra had won Gyanpur constituency in Bhadohi district.