Lucknow, June 1 (IANS) The Apna Dal will not merge with the BJP even if that means staying out of the Modi 2.0 government.
There have been speculations that the BJP has been pressurising the Apna Dal to merge before Anupriya Patel is given a ministerial position.
"There is no question of a merger. The Apna Dal has been building up its strength and we will not betray the people who have supported us," said a senior Apna Dal MLA.
Former Union Minister Anupriya Patel has also stated on several occasions that she will never merge her party and her husband, Ashish Singh, who is the party president, has also supported her stand.
"We have weathered several storms, including a split, but the party has marched ahead under the leadership of Anupriya Patel," the party legislator said.
The Apna Dal had split in 2014 after Anupriya's mother Krishna Patel lost the Assembly bye-election from Rohaniya and blamed Anupriya for the defeat. Krishna Patel expelled Anupriya from the party after which Anupriya floated the Apna Dal (Sonelal) .
The tussle between the mother and daughter is now in court and the party faction led by Krishna Patel has failed to make its mark.
Sources said that the BJP wanted the Apna Dal to merge because it wanted complete hold over the Kurmi vote bank. The Apna Dal, apparently, wants to retain its independent identity so that it can opt for other alliances in future.
"It would amount to cutting out hands if we merge with any party -- whether it is BJP or another party. Our community (Kurmi) is with us because we have given them a political identify and a sense of empowerment," said another party legislator.
The Apna Dal that was seen as a political non-entity till 2012, now has nine members in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly and two members in the Lok Sabha.