UP's Apna Dal (K) and AIMIM form 4th front for LS polls

Lucknow: Pallavi Patel-led faction of Apna Dal on Sunday announced an alliance with the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), forming a fourth front in UP in the run-up to the general elections.

The alliance has been named PDM (acronym of Picchda, Dalit, Musalman), offering a competing take on Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav‘s ‘Picchda (backwards) Dalit Alpsankhyak (minorities)’ theme for the INDIA bloc in UP.

“Because we are fighting to establish the current identity of the backwards, Dalits and Muslims, therefore setting aside the confusion of alphabet ‘A’, we are bringing the PDM nyaya morcha,” Patel said at a joint conference with AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi in Lucknow.

She lashed out at the “principal opposition”, SP, for maintaining “silence” over the alleged torture being faced by communities, especially Muslims. Owaisi brought up the issue of Moradabad MP ST Hasan being replaced after he had filed his nomination for the seat.

Other parties such as Premchand Bind’s Pragatisheel Manav Samaj Party and Rashtriya Uday Party are also included in PDM.

Apna Dal (K) was an alliance partner of SP until earlier this month. However, Yadav broke the alliance over Patel’s demand for three seats for the Lok Sabha polls. SP did not agree to the demand since the fledgling party had only one MLA, Pallavi, who contested assembly elections on SP’s symbol and defeated deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya from Sirathu.

Apna Dal (K) has influence over Kurmi votes in the Mirzapur-Kaushambi-Prayagraj region. While AIMIM does not have a major presence in the state, PDM parties together may cut into some Muslim and other backward classes votes, hurting the INDIA alliance in the process.

William Murphy

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