Why Anupriya Patel's mother won't watch her become Modi's minister

As the Mirzapur MP takes oath tomorrow, one question remains: who owns Apna Dal?

 |  4-minute read |   04-07-2016
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Becoming a minister in the central government is a dream come true for any politician. More so, if it is their first time. Normally, on a memorable occasion like this, a candidate's family is the happiest. But not in the case of young and sophisticated Anupriya Patel, Apna Dal MP from Mirzapur, who will soon be a part of the Modi Cabinet.

While Anupriya met BJP chief Amit Shah in Delhi on Monday regarding her swearing-in, her mother Krishna Patel in Kanpur was bitter and curt when asked about her daughter becoming minister in the Modi cabinet.

anupriya-patel-311_1_070416065928.jpg Anupriya Patel agreed to merge her party with the BJP.

"I have thrown her out of the party long back and don't want to talk anything about her now," was her terse reply before slamming the phone down.

Anupriya - the third daughter of  Krishna Patel and Sonelal Patel, the founder of Apna Dal - has always been the brightest of the four children. When Sonelal Patel died in a road accident in Kanpur on October 17, 2009, his party Apna Dal had already established itself as a force to reckon with in Uttar Pradesh.

Sonelal had become one of the most influential OBC leaders in the Hindi heartland.

Also read: How a mother-daughter war will help the BJP in UP

Having worked with Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna and then Kanshiram, Sonelal Patel rose to become the state secretary in BSP. But later on, he parted ways with Mayawati and formed his own party in 1994 with the Kurmis as his core vote bank.

With the sudden death of Sonelal Patel, a tug of war began in the family, mainly between Anupriya Patel and her mother Krishna Patel, who also has political ambitions and has contested three assembly elections so far - all of them unsuccessfully.

Two of Anupriya's sisters - Parul and Aman Patel - are software engineers based in Bangalore and not actively engaged in party politics. Her second sister Pallvi lives with Krishna Patel in Kanpur and manages the schools run by her mother.

Anupriya, who has a Masters Degree in Psychology and MBA in Business Administration, was sharp and articulate from the beginning. She became the general secretary of Apna Dal when her father died and swiftly rose through the ranks to capture his political heritage and widen the support base of the party, which was only known to be a vote-cutter front till then.

In the 2012 state elections, she jumped into the fray from the Rohaniya constituency in Varanasi and entered the UP Assembly.

But Anupriya had bigger ambitions.

In 2014, when the Modi wave was sweeping the state, she entered into an alliance with the BJP and managed to get two seats - Mirzapur and Pratapgarh. It proved to be a successful move.

She herself contested Lok Sabha polls from Mirzapur while her fellow Apna Dal leader Harivansh Singh stood for polls from Pratapgarh.

The Modi wave ensured a victory for both of them. Anupriya was hopeful of becoming a minister right from day one. But the BJP first wanted her to merge her party with the saffron alliance, stating that the victory was mainly due to the Modi wave.

But Anupriya's mother Krishna Patel, also the president of Apna Dal, was dead against it.

Before the mother and daughter could sort out the contentious issue of the merger, the ministerial berth slipped away for Anupriya.

Meanwhile, in the by-election for the Rohaniya Assembly seat vacated by Anupriya, Krishna Patel decided to test her fate and was squarely defeated. This caused further bad blood between the Anupriya and her mother.

In 2015, the infighting intensified to such an extent that Krishna Patel called a meeting in her capacity as party president and announced her daughter's expulsion. The matter eventually reached the court and is still pending for hearing.

As Anupriya Patel becomes a part of Team Modi and agrees to merge her party with the BJP, one question remains unanswered.

Who owns the Apna Dal?

The jury is still out as Anupriya is busy selecting her best suit for the swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan on Tuesday. And yes, here is a mother who will choose not to watch the biggest moment in her daughter's life.

Not even on TV.

Writer

Balkrishna Balkrishna @bala3047

TV Journalist with India Today Group @aajtak. Avid photographer, Tech Junkie. Passionate about travelling & exploring new places.

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