Rajbhar meets Akhilesh, seeks three seats in bypolls
Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) chief Om Prakash Rajbhar met Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav at the SP state headquarters here on Thursday.
The two leaders are looking at the possibility of forming a new alliance in the state for both the forthcoming bypolls to 11 state assembly seats and for the 2022 UP assembly polls. This was the third meeting between the two since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sacked Rajbhar from the Yogi Adityanath government ministry on May 20. Bypolls for 11 assembly seats are scheduled on October 21.
Sources privy to the discussion said Rajbhar wanted his party to contest three seats, Balah, Jalpur, and Ghosi, in the bypolls. But Akhilesh Yadav was open to giving one of these seats to the SBSP, one seat in west UP to Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and retaining nine for the SP, they said. The first meeting between Rajbhar and Akhilesh Yadav took place on August 23.
Despite being an ally and a minister in the Yogi government, Rajbhar had been attacking both chief minister Yogi Adityanath and Prime Minister Narendra Modi since 2017.
The flashpoint came when Rajbhar put up 39 candidates of his party against the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The BJP kept quiet till the polling was over as it did not want to send an adverse message to the Rajbhar community voters. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath sacked Rajbhar three days before the Lok Sabha election results.
The SBSP, a small party in eastern UP, enjoys considerable influence over the Rajbhar community (OBC) there. The alliance with the SBSP was the outcome of the BJP national president Amit Shah’s 2017 UP assembly election strategy. The relationship soured because of the allegedly rising demands of Rajbhar, especially for his family members.