Maulshree Seth,Maulshree Seth
Posted: Feb 12, 2012 at 0259 hrs IST
Convent-Educated Anupriya Patel, 32, an alumnus of Delhi’s prestigious Lady Shri Ram College who did her Masters in Psychology from Amity University, Noida, and MBA from Kanpur University, seems to be an unlikely choice for the post of general secretary of the Apna Dal, one of the smaller parties in Uttar Pradesh.
In fact, she herself admits as much, saying she either wanted to set up a business of her own, or take charge of the school in Kanpur established by her father, Sone Lal Patel, who formed the Apna Dal in 1995 as a “party of Kurmis”, an OBC community.
But when Sone Lal died in a road accident in October 2009, his party colleagues, impressed by Anupriya’s speech at the condolence meeting in Lucknow, asked her to take control of the party. She was made general secretary and her mother, Krishna Patel, became the party president.
Since then, Anupriya has been trying to build the party, understand local issues and the caste system, and learn local dialects.
Besides contesting her first election from Rohania constituency of Varanasi, Anupriya is busy campaigning for her party candidates and those of her alliance partners — the Peace Party and Bundelkhand Congress.
Saying she had “never” imagined herself hitting the campaign trail, Anupriya adds: “Destiny put me in completely opposite circumstances than I had planned or dreamt for myself. I took this responsibility out of love for my father.”
She admits that before October 2009, she “was not even aware of the mission of Apna Dal” because she was sure that this was not the life she wanted. “I was married for just 12 days when my father died. I had taught at Amity University and had taken up the administration of the school established by my father,” she says.
In the four elections that the Apna Dal contested in the past, it could win only four seats in the 2002 Assembly elections. All the four MLAs later left the party. She hopes to change the party’s tally this time. “We are concentrating on backwards and tribals,” she says.