In the 2018 LS by-elections, the result came as a huge blow to the the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the seat was held by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for five terms – since 1998.
Praveen Nishad, supported by the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), defeated BJP’s Upendra Shukla by almost 22,000 votes.
It also helped cement the alliance between foes turned friends SP and BSP.
The tables have, however, turned now. Exactly a year later, Praveen deserted the SP-BSP alliance. His father Sanjay Nishad, the president of Nishad Party, stuck an alliance with the BJP.
On April 2, Akhilesh Yadav and Sanjay Nishad had announced that they would fight the 2019 Lok Sabha elections together.
On April 4, Sanjay met Adityanath, and a day later, expressed ‘unhappiness’ with Akhilesh. “The SP and BSP worked out things for themselves,” Sanjay said.
Nishad Party had demanded two seats from the SP-BSP alliance – Gorakhpur and Maharajganj – which was refused. The SP had told them that they had committed Gorakhpur to the Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal from its quota. However, soon after, the SP-BSP alliance announced Ram Bhuwal Nishad from the same Nishad community as the candidate from Gorakhpur.
The BJP is yet to name a candidate.
Thus, the BJP has been successful in bringing the Nishad party into its fold. And with that, the BJP’s prospects appear to be stronger in at least six Lok Sabha seats of eastern Uttar Pradesh, where the Nishad community is considered numerically significant. The Nishad Party has the sitting Member of Parliament (MP) from Gorakhpur. He had won the last year’s bye-elections.
The exit of 30-year-old Praveen Nishad from the alliance adversely impacts the SP-BSP alliance in Gorakhpur, Jaunpur, and Machhlishahr Lok Sabha seats, where Nishads form over 10 per cent of the population.
With around 4-5 per cent vote share, the Nishads can also affect the poll outcome in Azamgarh, Maharajganj and Varanasi seats. All over the state, they form 2.6 per cent of the population.