LUCKNOW: Infuriated over his sacking, controversial Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Minister Om Prakash Rajbhar on Monday alleged that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath succumbed to the powerful liquor lobby and did not implement prohibition in the state.
Adityanath's silence on a liquor ban was the trigger point in the ongoing tussle between Rajbhar and the Bharatiya Janata Party, he said.
Rajbhar also claimed that he and his son Arun Rajbhar, Chairman of the Small Scale Industries Corporation, had handed over their resignations on April 13. However, the BJP, apprehending split in the crucial votes of the Rajbhar community, kept sitting on the resignation letters and sacked the two from their posts on Monday - once the polls were over in the state.
Talking to IANS, Rajbhar's son and national General Secretary of the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) Arun Rajabhar said: "Before the polls, we had moved a cabinet proposal to ban liquor in the entire state. We had emphasized that local made liquor is not only killing people but causing havoc in poor families. Like Gujarat and Bihar, the BJP should ban liquor in UP also. However, the liquor lobby stalled the move."
Arun Rajbhar, who controls the reins of the party which now has four MLAs, said that besides the liquor ban, his party also demanded quota within the OBC reservation for their community.
"BJP President Amit Shah promised us that he will ensure that a quota within the quota is implemented for the benefit of the Rajbhar community. Yet the orders were never implemented," he added.
He also alleged that the BJP leadership intended that his party should be merged with them and it fight future elections on the lotus symbol.
"We refused to bow down to such demands. We had clarified to Yogi that the SBSP would contest elections on its own symbol. We cannot be a small fish, eaten by a bigger fish (BJP)."
On the other hand, insiders in the BJP said that Om Prakash Rajbhar and his son had sought bigger portfolios in the government. They also pressured the party to have a bigger share in seat-sharing.
What annoyed the BJP leadership was the fact that during Lok Sabha polls, Rajbhar held separate rallies in different constituencies and spoke against the saffron party. In his recent rallies, Rajbhar even used foul language against the BJP, they said.