BJP jolted as UP alliance fields candidate against Modi

BJP jolted as UP alliance fields candidate against Modi

 Om Prakash Rajbhar. File photo

BJP was jolted in Uttar Pradesh after Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP), its alliance partner in the state, on Tuesday declared a list of 39 candidates, including one against prime minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi Lok Sabha seat.

The decision by the SBSP, a caste-based outfit, that commanded considerable influence on 'Rajbhar' (an OBC) community voters, signalled that the alliance between BJP and SBSP was all but over. 

UP minister and SBSP president Om Prakash Rajbhar, who tried to meet UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath to submit his resignation around midnight on Sunday without success, told reporters here that his party had taken the decision to go solo after getting a ''raw deal'' from the BJP.

Rajbhar has been spewing venom against Adityanath and the saffron party for the past around a year. Adityanath had tried to placate Rajbhar by accommodating his nominees on the posts of chairmen of state-owned corporations barely hours before the model code of conduct kicked in last month.

Rajbhar, however, remained adamant on his demand for four LS seats in the eastern region, where his community voters were sizable numbers.

BJP, however, offered Rajbhar to contest from Ghosi LS seat on its party symbol but the latter rejected the same.

In an apparent bid to downplay the crisis, BJP leaders here said that Rajbhar was very much part of the alliance and that the differences would be resolved through dialogue.

SBSP has fielded Siddharth Rabhar from Varanasi. It has also fielded its nominees against union minister Manoj Sinha from Ghazipur and UP BJP president Mahendra Nath Pandey from Chandauli LS seats.

The revolt took the saffron party by surprise and efforts were on to persuade Rajbhar to withdraw his candidates, sources said. 'Rajbhar' voters, who formed around four per cent of the electorate in the state, were decisive on around a dozen LS seats in the eastern region.