Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | Outbursts to apologies: UP minister’s Ghosi dilemma

It will be interesting to see if Om Prakash Rajbhar, who is known for putting his foot in his mouth, is able to ensure victory for his son. Polling in Ghosi will take place on June 1 in the seventh and last phase of the Lok Sabha elections.
Last Updated : 28 May 2024, 11:48 IST
Last Updated : 28 May 2024, 11:48 IST

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Ghosi (UP): There's famous saying that that 'your words can come back to haunt you' and perhaps none understands it better than Uttar Pradesh minister and Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) president Om Prakash Rajbhar, whose son Arvind Rajbhar is contesting from here as an NDA nominee.

Not long ago, Om Prakash Rajbhar, whose party has an alliance with the BJP, was part of the alliance with the Samajwadi Party (SP) and then he had, while attacking Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath over the latter’s alleged failure on the law and order front, asked him (Adityanath) to "resign" and "return" to Gorakhnath Temple. Rajbhar had then also made several objectionable comments against Adityanath.

Now there are fears that Arvind Rajbhar may have to pay a price for his father’s outbursts as a section of the local BJP workers has refused to support him despite repeated apologies by the father-son duo.

"’Om Prakash Rajbhar ka apni juban par kaboo nahin hai aur yehi unke ladke ke khilaf jar aha hai" (Om Prakash Rajbhar does not have any control over his speech and it’s going against his son), said Ramakant Singh, a resident of the town.

No wonder Arvind Rajbhar was made to bow with folded hands before the BJP workers and leaders to seek their forgiveness. A video showing Arvind Rajbhar doing so had gone viral on social media recently.

In the video, which pertained to a meeting of BJP leaders and workers in Mau district of which Ghosi was a part, UP deputy Chief Minister Brijesh Pathak was seen asking Rajbhar to bow before the party leaders.

As Rajbhar bowed, Pathak was heard telling him to bend more. ''Aur jhuko...muh bhi niche jhukao'' (bend more...also put down your face), Pathak was heard telling Rajbhar.

State BJP leaders claimed that Arvind Rajbhar now had the support of all the local party leaders and workers and that his father had been "forgiven".

Though Arvind hopes to get the traditional BJP votes, his own Rajbhar community voters, who number around two lakh in the constituency, appear to be divided as many community leaders have deserted Om Prakash Rajbhar and are rooting for the rival SP candidate Rajiv Rai.

Rai is banking on 5.5 lakh Muslims and Yadavs besides one lakh voters of his own ‘Bhumihar’ community to sail through. The SP is also likely to make a dent into the thakur vote bank of the saffron party as the SP MLA from Ghosi seat, Sudhakar Singh, hails from the same community.

Incidentally Sudhakar Singh had defeated the BJP nominee and UP minister Dara Singh Chauhan in a by-poll last year by over 42 thousand votes. Chauhan, who was with the SP, had crossed over to the BJP and contested from there on its ticket.

What could further queer the electoral pitch for the SBSP candidate was the presence of BSP nominee Balkrishna Chauhan. There are around two lakh Chauhan voters in the constituency and the BSP candidate appears to be making a dent into them. The BSP also hopes to secure the support of the five lakh dalit voters here.

Of the five assembly seats under this LS constituency, the BJP, SBSP and BSP have one seat each while the SP has two seats. ‘’For Om Prakash Rajbhar, it’s a prestige fight here ... a loss here will certainly impact his political stature and he may also find himself out of the cabinet,’’ said a local scribe in Mau.

Rajbhar, who has been in and out of the NDA, has a lot to prove. ‘’Rajbhar claims to be the sole representative of the Rajbhar community….the result of Ghosi will decide if he is right,’’ he said.

Prime minister Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath have addressed election rallies here. For the SP, party chief Akhilesh Yadav have also addressed an election meeting in Ghosi.

It will be interesting to see if Om Prakash Rajbhar, who is known for putting his foot in his mouth, is able to ensure victory for his son.  Polling here will take place on June 1 in the seventh and last phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

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Published 28 May 2024, 11:48 IST

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