Anupriya Patel's husband Ashish Patel leads the UP-based Apna Dal, an ally of the BJP
A BJP leader today described as a "minor misunderstanding" the party's rift with Union Minister Anupriya Patel's Apna Dal, which this week joined the list of disgruntled BJP allies as the 2019 national elections draw nearer. Anupriya Patel skipped two programmes of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath as her party pledged to boycott all such events until the BJP gave the party "proper respect".
"Our party president has already echoed the sentiments of the party very clearly. He has already expressed the party opinion," said Anupriya Patel. Her husband Ashish Patel leads the UP-based Apna Dal, which has nine legislators and two MPs.
As union minister of state for health, Ms Patel was conspicuously missing when Yogi Adityanath opened a medical college.
Yesterday, Ashish Patel had said: "Without respect, how is this going to go? As far as seats are concerned, we need more seats. The BJP should learn from the recent losses (in assembly elections)."
Union minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey denied the ally was upset and added: "Sometimes there is a small misunderstanding".
The minister of state for health said: "There is no point neglecting Anupriya Patel. She is intelligent, knowledgeable. There is no anger, there may be a communication gap."
Sources in Apna Dal say their differences are mainly with Yogi Adityanath. According to them, the party was upset that Ms Patel had not been invited properly for the chief minister's events.
The Apna Dal problem has cropped up days after Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RSLP) chief Upendra Kushwaha walked out of the BJP-led coalition in Bihar, upset over seat allocation.
In March, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) ended its alliance with the BJP over the centre's refusal to grant a special category status to Andhra Pradesh.