Omprakash Rajbhar’s flip-flop leaves allies and potential allies in Uttar Pradesh cold
His meeting with the state BJP president and his statement that he would support BJP if it promised to back an OBC as chief minister, have boxed him in a corner amidst intense pre-poll parleys
When Backward politics has taken a new dimension in Uttar Pradesh, Om Prakash Rajbhar of Suheldeo Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) has become a non-entity. Despite belonging to an Other Backward Caste (OBC) no one wants to align with his party because Rajbhar emerged as a `bargainer’ in UP politics.
One month back Rajbhar’s SBSP had an alliance with the Hyderabad-based AIMIM. Both of them formed Bhagidari Sankalp Morcha (BSM), under which AIMIM was to contest 100 seats and SBSP around 200 seats, the majority of them in the eastern UP.
The AIMIM threatened to sever its ties with Rajbhar after he met BJP state president Swatantra Dev Singh in Lucknow. He had earlier met Akhilesh Yadav igniting speculation that he might go with SP. But his meeting with BJP state president raised a big question as to what exactly Rajbhar and SBSP are bargaining.
“Nothing is impossible in politics. One should be ready to avail of any opportunity which comes under its way,” Rajbhar had told this reporter after meeting with BJP.
He even said that if BJP declares that it will give Chief Ministerial post to a backward his party will support BJP. “I have opened my doors for every party but they should be ready to accept our demands if they want our support. Our party has a huge influence in east UP,” he said.
But after that meeting, AIMIM put the SBSP president under a notice. UP MIM President Shaukat Ali, said that he is surprised at Om Prakash Rajbhar meeting BJP leaders. He said if the SBSP goes with BJP, there would be no chance of continuing the alliance.
The AIMIM which considers itself to be a heavyweight within the Bhagidari Sankalp Morcha (BSM) coalition, floated by Rajbhar, is yet to get a clear understanding of Om Prakash’s intentions as he was an ally of the BJP in the past and had also served as a UP Cabinet minister before parting ways in the 2019 general elections.
Even in Samajwadi Party, the lawmakers are not in favour of Akhilesh joining hands with Rajbhar despite that both the parties can gel better because of their political ideology.
Moreover, Samajwadi Party wants to ally with smaller parties and SBSP is perfectly in line with the stated policy of the SP.
Despite all these positives, the leaders within SP want Akhilesh to maintain a distance from Rajbhar and his SBSP.
“Om Prakash Rajbhar is a tough bargainer and in a continuous hunt for greener pastures. He is holding negotiations with the BJP also and it is difficult for us to ascertain as to where he stands and how long’’, said an SP lawmaker.
The lawmaker further said: “Even if we enter into an alliance with the SBSP and leave a couple of seats for his party, none can guarantee that he will stay with us after the elections”.
He said that recently former BSP leader Sukhdev Rajbhar’s son has joined SP. Sukhdev Rajbhar has himself relinquished politics. So, in eastern UP we have a strong Rajbhar leader.
“In this scenario why bet on a person whose loyalty is questionable,” he said.