Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Minister Om Prakash Rajbhar, on Thursday offered to give up his position in the Uttar Pradesh Backward Class Welfare Department, alleging that the government was neglecting the backward communities. Rajbhar, who heads the Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP), an ally of the BJP in UP, said that will meet chief minister Yogi Adityanath to submit his resignation.
He, however, will keep the charge of the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Department. Hours after his announcement, state deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma met Rajbhar, reportedly in an attempt to convince him against the decision. Claiming it to be an informal meeting as a family friend, Sharma said that Rajbhar was and will be with the BJP and there is no difference between him and the party.
BJP may not let go a crucial partner
While SBSP president Rajbhar has continuously been attacking and criticising his own ally for a long time, this is the first time when a senior BJP leader met him to pacify him. Recently, Uttar Pradesh BJP president Mahendra Nath Pandey called Rajbhar a “necessary evil” and said that his comments “should not be taken seriously”. Earlier in a Lucknow rally, Rajbhar offered to resign but was advised against it by his supporters. In January, Rajbhar gave the BJP a 100-day ultimatum to fulfil his demands of reservation within the 27 per cent OBC quota. He even attacked the BJP for changing the names of different places in the state but there was no response from the BJP. Sharma’s Thursday meeting with Rajbhar suggests that the party is not in a mood to let go a crucial ally.
In the resignation letter Rajbhar showed to the media, he mentioned that people from backward communities are angry and he was not able to ensure their rights because of government negligence. He added that not even a single name that he suggested was included in the recently-formed Backward Class Committee.
“It is to inform that after the new government was formed, I was given the charge of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Department along with the responsibility of Backward Class Welfare Department. With the government not providing proper funds for scholarships of backward class students and not doing classification of castes within 27 percent OBC reservation as per social justice report, people from the backward classes are angry,” the letter read.
“In addition to that, none of the names suggested by me has been considered for the Backward Class Committee. People from backward communities have a lot of expectations from me. But because of government negligence towards the welfare of backward class, I am not able to protect their rights. Hence I am handing over the charge of the Backward Class Welfare Department to you,” it added.
Talking to reporters on Thursday, Rajbhar said that the chief minister did everything on his own for the Backward Class Committee. “When he himself has to do everything, then he should keep the Backward Class Welfare Department too. Backward classes have been cheated for centuries and it is happening even now,” he said adding he has requested the CM for time once he gets back from Kerala.
Talking to The Indian Express, Sharma said, “Rajbhar ji is a friend and we all respect him a lot. He is a reliable ally and things happen in family… I do not know where this resignation thing is coming from as we haven’t received anything like that. After our small non-political meeting on tea, he said he is always with the BJP.”
Sharma added that he went to Rajbhar’s house as he could not attend the wedding ofthe SBSP leader’s son and that it was a friendly meeting. Rajbhar could not be contacted to confirm Sharma’s claims.