Compounding BJP's alliance problems in Uttar Pradesh, state minister Om Prakash Rajbhar, who is the president of Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP), the ruling party's ally, has again threatened to end the partnership, saying he had many "options" to ally with. Among Mr Rajbhar's options is West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, with whom, he says, he has been in talks.
"I am in talks with West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackrey, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, SP president Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati. I will decide on leaving or remaining with the BJP on February 24," news agency PTI was quoted as saying.
Mr Rajbhar had last week written to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and offered to step down as minister, expressing disappointment that his recommendations on appointment of state backward castes panel members had been "ignored".
His offer was not accepted.
"BJP is creating confusion. I am not satisfied with the talks with him. Discussions are going on for a number of days... They are promising but not fulfilling our demands," Mr Rajbhar said.
Mr Rajbhar made the comment after Union Minister Anupriya Patel of the Apna Dal, a crucial ally of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, threatened to quit the National Democratic Alliance.
"Some differences cropped up with the BJP and we gave them time till February 20 to answer our questions. But they did not have any answers. So it appears the BJP is not interested in listening to or answering complaints of their allies," Ms Patel said. "Apna Dal is independent to make its own decision. We have called a party meeting and we will do what the party decides, whatever will be decided in the meeting we will let you know," she said.
Mr Rajbhar has been making comments against the BJP leadership in Uttar Pradesh for some months now. He last week met BJP chief Amit Shah with his demands.
Party sources as part of the peace offering, Mr Rajbhar was promised a big bungalow in Lucknow as his party office. Another round of meetings will be held soon to finalise seat sharing for the coming Lok Sabha elections, sources said.
The BJP, which had won 71 seats out of 80 in Uttar Pradesh in 2014, has been challenged by the alliance formed by Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav. The Congress has also brought in Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Jyotiraditya Scindia to revive the party's fortunes in the state.
With inputs from PTI
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