SUHELDEV BHARATIYA Samaj Party (SBSP) will ally with Samajwadi Party in next year’s assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh even if it does not get a single seat to contest, its president Om Prakash Rajbhar announced on Wednesday.
Rajbhar, a former ally of the BJP who served in the Yogi Adityanath government until 2019, made the announcement shortly after an hour-long meeting with SP president Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow.
Confirming the development, SP tweeted, “Samajwadi Party and Suheldeo Bharatiya Samaj Party will jointly fight for deprived, oppressed, backwards, Dalits, women, farmers, youths and other weaker sections. SP and SBSP have come together, BJP is wiped out in UP.”
It also tweeted a photograph of Akhilesh’s meeting with Rajbhar.
The SBSP’s support base largely comprises backward castes, which account for more than 20% of the population in eastern Uttar Pradesh. The Rajbhar community constitutes 3% of the state population, with presence in nearly 125 Assembly seats in the region.
Rajbhar told reporters that at the meeting with Akhilesh, he discussed issues of caste census, electricity and free medical facilities. They also discussed how the BJP was resorting to politics of hate by raising Hindu-Muslim and India-Pakistan issues, he said.
“Akhilesh Yadav said the SP and constituents of the Morcha should contest the elections together,” said Rajbhar, referring to Bhagidari Sankalp Morcha, a front of over 10 regional political outfits that he heads.
Rajbhar said he invited Akhilesh to a Dalit and backward communities meet to be organised by the Morcha in Mau district on October 27.
On seat-sharing arrangements, Rajbhar said, “We have joined hands to finish the BJP and remove it from power. There is no seat-sharing dispute. Discussion on seat sharing will be done after the October 27 mahapanchayat.”
SBSP principal general secretary Arvind Rajbhar said, “Alliance between the SBSP and SP has been finalised today. As the SBSP is leading the Bhagidari Sankalp Morcha, other parties of the front will also be part of the alliance with the SP.”
In the last assembly elections in 2017, when it was an ally of the BJP, the SBSP had won four of the eight seats it contested. Party chief Rajbhar, who was elected from Zahoorabad in Ghazipur, joined the Adityanath Cabinet as backward classes welfare minister.
But after a protracted tussle between both parties, Rajbhar was dropped from the Cabinet in May 2019, a day after polling for Lok Sabha elections ended in eastern Uttar Pradesh.
Rajbhar broke away from the BJP, accusing the Adityanath government of not meeting his demands of quota within quota for OBCs and inclusion of 17 most backward castes in SC category.
Boost for SP
WITH the alliance with SBSP, the SP can now hope to change the general perception that it has become a party of Yadavs and Muslims only. Earlier, the SP had support of non-Yadav OBCs but it lost it over a period of time. The party’s gain among non-Yadav OBCs in eastern Uttar Pradesh because of the alliance with SBSP could be a deciding factor in several seats. The SBSP claims to have connect with more than 60 most backward and Dalit castes in the region.