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U.P. Assembly polls | Rajbhar vows to make Akhilesh CM again

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party president Om Prakash Rajbhar greet supporters during a rally at Haldharpur Ground in Uttar Pradesh’s Mau on October 27, 2021. Photo: Twitter/@samajwadiparty
Special Correspondent Lucknow 27 October 2021 16:51 IST
Updated: 27 October 2021 22:11 IST

At a rally in Mau, SBSP and SP formalise their alliance for the 2022 election

OBC leader and former Minister Om Prakash Rajbhar put up a show of strength in Mau on Wednesday, where he vowed to unite voters from the OBC, Dalit and minority communities and make Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh once again.

With the huge rally — Vanchit, Pichda, Dalit, Alpsankhyak Bhagidhari Mahapanchayat — the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party of Mr. Rajbhar and the SP formalised their alliance for the 2022 Assembly election.

“Now no conspiracy of those who lie will work among Dalit and OBC people,” said Mr. Yadav, , targeting the BJP. He was the chief guest at the event held on the 19th foundation day of the SBSP. If there was a ‘khela hobe’ in West Bengal, in U.P. there would be ‘khadeda hobe’ (suggesting that BJP will be chased away), both the leaders said.

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An alliance with the SBSP is significant for the SP as it not only helps the party bridge the gap between its core vote base of Yadav and the non-Yadav OBCs in Purvanchal, but also because Mr. Rajbhar, a former BJP ally, is vocal on issues related to the Backward Castes. On stage, both the leaders donned red topis and yellow scarves to show their coming together.

By joining hands with the SP, Mr. Rajbhar had “shut the door” through which the BJP rose to power in U.P., Mr. Yadav said, referring to the huge support the BJP won among the most-backward castes in the last election when it allied with the SBSP.

Mr. Yadav, who arrived at the rally site in Haldarpur in a helicopter, just as Mr. Rajbhar did moments before him, told voters, especially the Dalits and OBCs, it was time to “snatch back the honour” they lost under the BJP government. The SP-SBSP alliance would restore them that lost honour, he said, even as he warned people to beware of “conspiracies” that the BJP might hatch before the election to divert their attention. “But you should not forget inflation, how job opportunities of the youth were snatched, how petrol became so costly and how our daughters are being insulted,” Mr. Yadav said.

Speaking first at the well-attended rally, Mr. Rajbhar, an MLA from Zahoorabad in neighbouring Ghazipur, tried to woo the voters with a number of promises, including waiver of domestic power bills and implementation of the sub-categorisation of the OBC quota. He appealed to the people to elect Mr. Yadav as Chief Minister again to save the State’s heritage and protect the Constitution. “Hindus are not in danger. The country is in danger, so is the Constitution,” Mr. Rajbhar said. He accused Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath of having “looted” the share of these communities.

Mr. Yadav raised the issue of jobs and inflation and issues related to farming. If the three farm laws were implemented, farmers would have to work as labourers in their own farm, he said. The SP chief also said that while the government did deposit money in accounts of farmers as part of a scheme, in the overall picture, given the prices of diesel, petrol and fertilizers, they were making losses and were also unable to get a refill of gas cylinders given to them.

Purvanchal is known for sending migrant workers to different parts of the country. Mr. Yadav tried to appeal to this vote base by referring to the crisis of the migrant workers during the lockdown imposed by the Centre to tackle COVID-19. The BJP government left people, especially the poor, to fend for themselves, he said.

It may be recalled that it was in Mau that the SBSP had in 2016 announced its alliance with the BJP at a rally attended by Amit Shah. The SBSP not only go on to win four seats in 2017, but also helped its larger ally in several seats in East U.P., as the NDA won 325 out of the 403 seats in the State.

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