BALLIA: Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party leader and Uttar Pradesh minister Om Prakash Rajbhar today distanced himself from the new front floated by disgruntled SP leader Shivpal Yadav.
"I have nothing to do with the Samajwadi Secular Morcha, which was launched by Shivpal Singh Yadav yesterday," Rajbhar said here.
Rajbhar, who has been critical of the bigger alliance partner BJP, asserted that his SBSP had no tie-up with the morcha and its alliance with the ruling party will continue.
"Although I have had a number of meetings with Shivpal Singh Yadav in the recent past, in none of these did we discuss politics," said the minister for backward classes welfare in the Yogi Adityanath government.
Shivpal Yadav floated his morcha yesterday, saying he will seek the support of 'neglected' workers in the Samajwadi Party.
He had also said he would unite the small parties in the state.
But Yadav, who remains an SP legislator, did not clarify whether his morcha will contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav, who visited the party office in Lucknow today, evaded a question on the front announced by his brother.
"I am here for a condolence meeting for Samajwadi leader Darshan Singh Yadav. Ask this question tomorrow," he told reporters.
Shivpal Yadav was removed from the post of SP state unit's president after his nephew Akhilesh Yadav assumed charge as national president last year, edging out Mulayam Singh Yadav.
He had met Rajbhar the night before launching the new front.
But both leaders maintained that the meeting was personal and not political.
Earlier in June, the SBSP president had triggered speculation after he was closeted with Shivpal Singh Yadav in the Varanasi circuit house for over 15 minutes.
While both leaders had called the meeting just a courtesy, political overtones were read into it as the minister has been targeting the state government every now and then.
That meeting had also assumed significance as Rajbhar had at one time defended Akhilesh Yadav over the alleged damage done to the official residence that he vacated in Lucknow.