Lucknow: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has recognised Apna Dal (S) as a state-level political party, upgrading it from a registered (unrecognised) political outfit.
With this the number of state-level parties in Uttar Pradesh has gone up to three -- the other two being Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD).
"It is a historic day for the party," party president and union minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Anupriya Patel told reporters.
The party has two Lok Sabha MPs, 12 MLAs and one MLC in Uttar Pradesh.
Besides Anupriya, who is an MP from Mirzapur, has Pakori Lal Kol as the other MP representing Robertsganj.
Patel said that it was because of the hard work of party workers that helped the party grow. She invoked Lord Buddha, and Dalit icons like Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and BR Ambedkar as the key source of inspiration for the party to work amongst the socially oppressed classes.
She categorically credited Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as a key socio-political figure that catalysed the party's movement.
Party's working president and cabinet minister Ashish Patel -- the lone MLC of the party -- said that this historic achievement was due to the struggle of the founder of the party, Sonelal Patel.
"What started as a small party has taken a big shape because of his sacrifice," he said.—IANS