LUCKNOW: With the fall of Gorakhpur and Phulpur, voices of dissent have started emerging in Yogi-Adityanath-led BJP coalition government in UP.
An expression of such a chagrin came to fore on RS poll eve when Cabinet minister and Suheldev Bahujan Samaj Party (BSSP) chief OP Rajbhar asserted that he would not mind backing joint candidate fielded by BSP-SP-Congress combine, if BJP chief Amit Shah would not call him up to seek support in upcoming Rajya Sabha polls due on March 23.
“With three days to go, unfortunately, no one from BJP has approached me to support their Rajya Sabha candidates, so why shouldn’t we go our own way," said the SBSP president, who holds the portfolio of backward and handicapped welfare in Yogi cabinet. However, he clarified that his party was still undecided over whom to support in RS polls.
Rajbhar’s SBSP has four MLAs in the BJP-led alliance in UP. "BJP is power-drunk after winning 324 seats. They are busy boasting their strength and doing nothing. For long, I have been seeing change in their attitude,” said an exasperated SBSP chief expressing his dismay over not being consulted by the ruling party either in UP civic polls or recently-concluded bypolls.
The BJP and allies have enough support to send their eight of 10 candidates to upper house as 37 votes are needed to see one candidate through. With 28 surplus votes, the saffron alliance would need just nine more votes to see its ninth candidate through. However, SBSP's four MLAs can sway the fortune of BJP candidate.
Rajbhar, upset with saffron party’s ‘big brother’ attitude, even boycotted the function organised to mark Yogi government’s one year in office here on Monday. The SBSP chief even refused Urban Development Minister Suresh Khanna who had gone to placate him. Rajbhar claimed that the event was not meant for deprived and down trodden, so he won’t attend it. “They have not done anything positive for the poor who are still suffering at every level,” claimed the minister and gave just 3 on 10 to Yogi government.
“We are still in alliance with the BJP but they never consulted us before finalising candidates for the Rajya Sabha elections or the Lok Sabha bypolls," said Rajbhar. “Neither Yogi ji nor their state president consulted me in civic pollls or bypolls. Besides, they don't include me in key cabinet decisions. My MLAs need respect,” rued the SBSP leader.
Rajbhar accepted that it was BJP’s responsibility to decided their candidates for Gorakhpur and Phulpur bypoll but felt that allies should have also been taken in loop.
“Even we were not called for campaign in the bypolls,” he stated and claimed that had his party been roped in by the BJP leadership to hold joint campaign post SP-BSP alliance, BJP candidate would have sailed through. “My party has hold over at least 30,000 electorate in Gorakhpur region and that would have made all the difference,” he reasoned.
Riling over the fact that state government was focused more on temples than welfare of the poor who voted it to power, Rajbhar criticised the dispensation for being rhetorical with little success in bringing about the change on the ground:
Rajbhar has been sulking in the alliance since July last year and had offered to resign for the government but was pacified after meeting the CM.