Issuing a threat to the BJP, one of its allies in Uttar Pradesh — the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party — said Sunday it will part ways with the saffron party if the recommendations of the Social Justice Committee are not implemented by February 24. “If the BJP does not agree to the demands raised by us, we will definitely part ways with them. If the saffron party does not implement the recommendations of the Social Justice Committee by February 24, then our path would be separate, and subsequently, we will contest all 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state,” Arun Rajbhar, general secretary of SBSP, told PTI.
He also said, “We can even go with the anti-BJP alliance (of SP and BSP) if the need arises. A number of rounds of talks have been held with them.” Hitting out at the BJP, Arun Rajbhar said, “It is the last warning, and after February 24, there will be no agreement with the BJP.”
He said the BJP had promised that the recommendations of the Social Justice Committee would be implemented six months before Lok Sabha polls, but there has been no headway on this. The committee, constituted in May last year, had in its recommendations to the state government, favoured division of backward castes in three categories — ‘pichda’ (backward), ‘ati picchda’ (very backward) and ‘sarvadhik picchda’ (most backward).
Backward classes account for about 44 per cent of the electorate in the state and play a crucial role in making or marring political prospects of any party. The recommendation of the committee to classify various OBC and Dalit sub-castes into three broad categories and provide quota within quota to them is likely to spice up the political scene ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election in caste-riddled Uttar Pradesh.
In 2017 UP Assembly elections, BJP had bagged 312 out of 403 seats, while SBSP had won 4 seats. Another ally of the coalition, Apna Dal (Sonelal), had won nine seats. On February 6, SBSP said it was “open” to going with SP-BSP alliance in the general election that must be held by May this year.
SBSP chief and senior Cabinet minister Om Prakash Rajbhar said, “In case there is no headway with the BJP, the option of going along with SP-BSP alliance is open to us.”
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