BJP’s UP ally, SBSP, threatens to go it alone on quota demand; Apna Dal (S) wants caste census
The BJP’s two allies with a largely OBC support base in Uttar Pradesh flexed their muscle in Lucknow on Monday.
The Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) threatened to pull out of the NDA coalition in UP if its demands, including quota within quota, weren’t met by February 17.
The BJP’s other ally Apna Dal (S), led by Anupriya Patel, a minister in Modi government, too expressed displeasure and said it wanted issues redressed.
Both these parties have diametrically opposite demands.
The SBSP wants the quota within quota, recommended by the social justice committee, released whereas the Apna Dal (S) is favouring a caste-based census before the report is implemented. “If our demands aren’t met by February 17, the day my party plans to hold a function in Maharashtra, we would announce plans to contest all 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP,” said SBSP chief Om Prakash Rajbhar.
“Implementing the social justice committee report without caste census will only divide the OBCs, something that we don’t want,” said Apna Dal (S) chief Ashish Patel, an MLC from UP.
Rajbhar, a cabinet minister in the Yogi Adityanath government, however, parried a query on whether he was in talks with SP-BSP leadership, who are all set to firm up a pact against the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
He, however, took potshots at the BJP leadership, saying the moment the Mahagathbadhan started taking shape, the CBI got active, digging up the an old scam (mining).
“The CBI’s activeness is making it appear to the common man that the agency has been let loose as the Mahagathbandhan is taking shape,” Rajbhar said.
Meanwhile, Apna Dal (S) chief Ashish Patel along with his wife and union minister Anupriya Patel too sounded a warning to the BJP.
“A section in the BJP doesn’t want Prime Minister Narendra Modi to become the PM again. If the BJP wants to win again, it will have to improve its relationship with its allies,” he said. Apna Dal (S) also demanded that 50% police inspectors in UP should belong to the SC/ST or the OBC category.
Anupriya Patel said while the Centre was always willing to listen to their problems and address them, the same wasn’t true in UP.