This Article is From Jul 16, 2023

In Return Of Two UP Leaders, Glimpse Into BJP's OBC Push For 2024 Polls

OP Rajbhar joins NDA: The Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party is influential among OBC voters in eastern Uttar Pradesh.

OP Rajbhar joins NDA: Amit Shah also tweeted a picture of their meeting and welcomed him.

New Delhi:

In the second jolt to Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party in as many days, a key former ally today rejoined the BJP-led NDA, further strengthening the ruling alliance ahead of next year's general elections. Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, influential among OBC voters in eastern Uttar Pradesh, announced it will fight along with the BJP for "social justice, the country's security, and empowerment of those deprived of good governance, the oppressed, backward classes, Dalits, women, farmers, youth, and all weak sections of society".

SBSP chief Om Prakash Rajbhar, who fought the 2022 UP elections in alliance with the Samajwadi Party after quitting as cabinet minister during Yogi Adityanath's first term as Chief Minister, tweeted a picture with Home Minister Amit Shah and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and BJP chief JP Nadda.

Amit Shah also tweeted the picture of their meeting and welcomed the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) leader to the NDA.

When asked about his earlier stand that if the UP opposition parties like SP, BSP came together, he would fight with them, Mr Rajbhar said he tried speaking to all parties but didn't get a response.

"How many days was I supposed to wait? I tried to speak to all the parties, but there was no response. So, I decided to be part of the fight for social justice being spearheaded by the prime minister, the home minister, and the Uttar Pradesh chief minister," he told news agency ANI.

Samajwadi Party took a swipe at the BJP, saying the BJP is rattled after the party announced its 'PDA -- Pichde, Dalit, Alpasankhyak (Backward Classes, Dalits, Minorities) formula' to defeat the ruling BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. The party posted several video clips where Mr Rajbhar can be seen berating PM Modi and Yogi Adityanath, and even abusing the BJP, saying the ruling party is ready to ally with even those who abuse them.

With a swipe at BJP's "party with difference" slogan, the Samajwadi party said even though OP Rajbhar has joined the NDA along with his son, the youth, elders, and women of the backward Rajbhar community don't support them.

"Both OP (Rajbhar) and the BJP will realise their mistakes once election results are out. Entire backward, Dalit, minority is with PDA/SP," it said.

Dara Singh Chauhan, Samajwadi Party MLA from Ghosi in Mau district, had yesterday resigned from the Uttar Pradesh Assembly. Mr Chauhan, also an OBC leader from east UP, was the minister for environment and forests during Yogi Adityanath's first term. He quit just before the 2022 state polls, joined the Akhilesh Yadav-led party, and won his MLA election. Mr Chauhan, who also met Amit Shah, is set to rejoin the BJP.

In Bihar, another OBC leader Chirag Paswan, son of former union minister and prominent OBC leader late Ram Vilas Paswan, has also been invited to the big NDA meeting in Delhi by JP Nadda.

Mr Rajbhar is now expected to attend the NDA meeting on July 18 in what is being seen as a show of strength by the ruling alliance in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

OP Rajbhar's alliance with the Samajwadi Party was considered an important reason for the BJP's relatively dim performance in parts of 'poorvanchal' during the 2022 assembly polls in UP, which sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha.