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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s Uttar Pradesh cadre has turned warmer towards its sulking allies in the state, including Apna Dal and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), after Priyanka's Gandhi's entry, The Economic Times has reported.
According to the report, the BJP top brass in the state is alarmed by the Samajwadi Party (SP)-Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) alliance. With the Congress' decision to make Priyanka Gandhi its UP (East) in-charge, the BJP is likely to accommodate the demands of its smaller partners, sources told the newspaper.
Apna Dal, led by Union Minister Anupriya Patel, and SBSP has been reportedly 'unhappy' with its senior partner. Leaders from both parties have recently criticised the state as well as the central government on issues such as Ram Temple and reservation.
In a symbolic gesture, SBSP president Om Prakash Rajbhar and Patel had, in December, skipped a key rally in UP attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Patel had later also said the BJP should "respect" its allies and "learn from its mistakes".
According to the report, both Apna Dal and SBSP have sizable vote banks in eastern UP, where Priyanka is set to lead the Grand Old Party.
The report states that apart from warming up to existing allies, the BJP is also looking for newer allies in UP as well as states such as Tamil Nadu. Sources told the newspaper that BJP is in touch with Patel's mother Krishna and her sister Pallavi, who have floated a separate outfit after infighting within the Apna Dal had split the party.
According to the report, BJP might poach and field over three dozen leaders from rival parties during the upcoming polls. The saffron party is also trying to stitch a "rainbow alliance" across the country. The party, according to the report, is in touch with both factions of the All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in Tamil Nadu, where it hopes to make inroads.
The BJP has also tried to placate the Shiv Sena by sanctioning a memorial worth Rs 100 crore for party supremo Bal Thackeray, who died in 2012.