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Om Prakash Rajbhar meets Akhilesh Yadav, likely to work together

Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party President Om Prakash Rajbhar meets Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav, in Lucknow, Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party president and former BJP ally Om Prakash Rajbhar called on Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday, in the first open indication that the two parties could be inching towards a possible alliance in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly election.

While there was no formal announcement of any electoral tie-up, both sides sent out enough signals that they were willing to work and contest together.

The SP already has the support of three OBC-based parties in the State — the Rashtriya Lok Dal, Janvadi Party (Socialist) and the Mahan Dal. An alliance with the SBSP, which had contested the 2017 Assembly polls in alliance with the BJP, would boost its prospects in Purvanchal, especially among the Rajbhar OBC community.

Mr. Om Prakash, who was a Cabinet Minister in the Yogi Adityanath Government, had rebelled before the 2019 Lok Sabha election, but could not hurt the BJP’s prospects independently. For many months, he had kept up the suspense on his future course, even as he indicated that he had opened up the option of an understanding with former ally BJP.

Abki baar, BJP saaf. Samajwadi Party aur Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party milkar aye saath [This time, the BJP will be wiped out. The SP and the SBSP have come together],” Mr. Om Prakash tweeted after what he described was a “courtesy meeting.” He was accompanied by his elder son Arvind Rajbhar.

Mr. Yadav, sharing a picture of the meeting, which lasted almost an hour, also called it a courtesy call.

The SP, in a formal statement, said the two parties had come together. The SBSP, which “works to raise the voice of the rights of the weak,” is ready to walk along with the SP and take U.P. on the path of development, it said.

The SP claimed that the SBSP could improve its prospects in 150 seats, especially in the Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Devipatan and Azamgarh divisions.

The SP tweeted that the SP and SBSP would fight together for the oppressed, deprived, OBCs, Dalits, women, farmers and the youth.

Later, addressing a press conference, Mr. Om Prakash said Mr. Yadav told him that they and all the members of the Bhagidhari Sankalp Morcha, a group of smaller parties including AIMIM led by SBSP, should contest together. Mr. Om Prakash then invited Mr. Yadav to attend a mahapanchayat in Mau on October 27 to put up a show of strength.

“We have an understanding with them [SP] to remove the BJP from power. There is no fight for seats,” said Mr. Om Prakash. Seat sharing would be discussed after the Mau rally. “We will stick with the SP even if we don’t get a single seat,” he told reporters.

It must be recalled that in 2016, months before the 2017 Assembly polls, the then BJP chief Amit Shah had announced a tie-up with the SBSP at a similar rally in Mau.

In 2017, the SBSP contested eight seats and won four as part of the NDA alliance. Mr. Om Prakash was the U.P. Cabinet Minister for Backward Class Welfare, before he was sacked following the 2019 Lok Sabha results.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2021 2:24:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/om-prakash-rajbhar-meets-akhilesh-yadav-likely-to-work-together/article37098083.ece

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