Lucknow: As the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh celebrates a year today, an alliance partner has given it a poor assessment and has gone public with his view that there are "grave problems". Om Prakash Rajbhar, a minister in the UP cabinet, also warns that the ruling BJP "will lose elections" if the government doesn't shape up.
- Om Prakash Rajbhar said Uttar Pradesh government's focus is on temples
- Mr Rajbhar is second ally to openly criticise BJP after Ram Vilas Paswan
- BJP lost two strong seats - Gorakhpur and Phulpur - in UP bypolls
"Celebrating and talking about building temples in Mathura and Kashi mean nothing. No one else has the guts to question this government. If speaking the truth is revolt then I am revolting," Mr Rajbhar has said in stinging comments against Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the ruling BJP.
Mr Rajbhar, who heads the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, is the second ally to openly criticise the BJP after union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, who has advised the party to draw lessons from its UP by-poll defeat and "mend its image" among certain sections of the society.
In the bypolls, the BJP lost two strong seats in UP, including Yogi Adityanath's home base Gorakhpur. On the back of this mega blow, the BJP's biggest ally in the south, the Telugu Desam Party of Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, walked out of the central coalition last week and decided to push a no-confidence move in parliament.
For now, Mr Rajbhar is not pulling out of the alliance; he only skipped the one-year birthday party.
"Let's see what happens in the future, for now we are a part of this coalition," he said.
After Mr Rajbhar's comments emerged in the media, state parliamentary affairs minister Suresh Khanna spent 30 minutes trying to pacify him but could not get him to join the celebrations in the state government headquarters.
"What is the use of celebrating one year of this government? We formed an alliance with the BJP because we hoped the BJP would work for the poor, but nothing of that sort is happening," Mr Rajbhar said.
The Yogi government came to power with promises of stopping corruption, he reminded. "I say with conviction that in the villages of UP, only bribes are being demanded," he alleged, warning that governments lose power whenever the backward and the poor are discriminated against.
The upset minister also said the BJP "doesn't speak to us" and didn't approach his party even though in the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls, it has four votes.
"I spoke to the Chief Minister four days ago about all this and he promised to look into my grievances, but nothing has happened."