LUCKNOW: Getting into the action mode on the day next to the last leg of 2019 big battle, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath recommended the state governor to sack his cabinet colleague and Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) chief Om Prakash Rajbhar from his ministry here on Monday. Acting on the CM’s recommendation, Governor Ram Naik issued orders of Rajbhar’s dismissal from the UP cabinet.
Though Rajbhar had been critical of Yogi government over an array of issues right from the day he joined the cabinet as backward classes welfare and disabled development minister, the immediate reason for his dismissal is believed to be a case filed against him for allegedly threatening and abusing BJP workers and bad mouthing against the party leadership recently during the course of election campaign. The CM acted against the minister after getting a nod from party’s top brass.
It may be recalled that Rajbhar had parted ways with the NDA after BJP and his party failed to strike a seat-sharing arrangement in UP. Consequently, Rajbhar, who has considerable clout in eastern Uttar Pradesh, fielded 39 SBSP candidates against the BJP across UP. Besides, Rajbhar had extended support to Congress and Gathbandhan on separate seats.
The CM also removed all SBSP members appointed to various boards and corporations in Uttar Pradesh just ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to placate Rajbhar.
“Om Prakash Rajbhar has been relieved of his responsibilities as a minister for backward classes welfare and disabled development,” said a Raj Bhawan communique. However, the portfolios held by Rajbhar have been handed over to Anil Rajbhar, the BJP MLA and minister of state (independent charge) who had campaigned extensively in eastern UP after the rebellion of Om Prakash Rajbhar. Reacting to his dismissal, Om Prakash Rajbhar said he had anticipated his dismissal and that it was no shock for him. Taking a high moral ground, Rajbhar claimed that he had been struggling for the cause of Most Backward Castes (MBCs) and reiterated his resolve to continue his fight for the same. However, he felt betrayed saying: “Had we got more time to campaign, we would have made a lot of difference in UP elections.”
While reacting to his dismissal UP state chief Mahendra Nath Pandey accused him of breaching the alliance dharma. “We tried to bear with Rajbharji for a long time as we respect the Rajhbhar Samaj. But the way he used disgraceful language against Modiji and Yogiji and exhorted his workers to beat BJP cadre with shoes was beyond our level of tolerance. I congratulate CM Yogi for the decision,” Pandey said.
On the other, Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya, the BJP’s OBC face in UP, rejected the perception that Rajbhar was the leader of MBCs. “He is just a leader of his family. It was because of BJP that he became an MLA and minister,” Maurya said. Similarly, UP tourism minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi said she appreciated the patience of UP CM Yogi Adityanath. “It is high time that such elements are shown the door. I welcome CM’s decision,” she said.
The case against Rajbhar was filed on May 18 after he allegedly urged supporters to thrash ruling party workers with shoes if they spread “misinformation” about his party. He claimed that BJP leaders were spreading rumours that the SBSP candidate was not contesting the election from the Ghosi parliamentary seat. A video of his speech has gone viral on social media.
On May 6, the SBSP chief had claimed that he resigned from the post of minister but the state government was yet to decide whether to accept his resignation. Among those removed from boards and corporations are Ganga Ram Rajbhar and Virendra Rajbhar (members of backward classes commission), Sudama Rajbhar (member of animal welfare commission), Om Prakash Rajbhar’s son Arvind Rajbhar (chairman of small and medium industries corporation), Rana Ajeet Pratap Singh (UP seed development corporation), Sunil Arkvanshi and Radhika Patel (members of National Integration Council).