A day after a UP minister heaped praise on BSP supremo Mayawati and then retracted it, another Cabinet member embarrassed the Yogi Adityanath government by accusing it of betraying backward class students. “I am ready to quit the government any time, if I am asked to do so,” Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) leader and Uttar Pradesh backward class welfare minister Om Prakash Rajbhar told PTI on Thursday.
The BJP ally complained that the students were not getting the scholarships meant for them. “There is a lot of hue and cry in the entire state over scholarships and fee reimbursement of backward class students,” he said. “This is injustice against them. The state government is betraying them. Of the 26 lakh backward class students, about 11 lakh have not benefited till now,” the minister said.
Rajbhar had recently kept Bharatiya Janata Party on tenterhooks over his support for a candidate in Rajya Sabha polls. Asked whether his SBSP will continue its alliance with BJP till 2019, Rajbhar said, “We have formed an alliance till 2024. If BJP says it does not need us, I will immediately return them my ministerial post.” “If raising voice for the backwards is wrong, then BJP can immediately snap ties with us,” he added.
The minister said the state has a budget of Rs 3,000 crore for scholarships. But only Rs 1,085 has been allotted for scholarships for backward classes students. He said a state government order issued on April 16 allowed scheduled caste, minority and general category students who could not apply for scholarships, or if there were some discrepancies in their cases, to do so online up to May 15. “No such initiative has been taken for backward class students,” he said.
The minister said when he discussed this with Yogi Adityanth, he was told more money was allotted in this year’s budget for scholarships, compared to the previous Samajwadi Party government. “I don’t know what was done earlier. I want scholarships for 100 per cent of backward class students,” the minister said. He said he had also talked about this with BJP president Amit Shah.
The government order smacked of “stepmotherly treatment”, but the backward class leaders in BJP “do not have the guts to speak in front of the CM,” the minister said. “A government is run with the support of everyone, but this is not done here,” he added. He also levelled allegations over the appointments to the state’s selection board for teachers.
“Why were the relatives of Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Rajnath Singh and Deputy CM Dinesh Sharma and UP BJP president Mahendra Nath Pandey given places on the board?” In the recent Rajya Sabha elections, Rajbhar had threatened not to support BJP’s extra candidate from UP.
He was mollified by Amit Shah who promised to come down to Lucknow and have a detailed talk with him in the presence of the chief minister. Rajbhar, whose party has four MLAs in the 403-member Assembly, then agreed to vote for the BJP nominee. Shah recently visited the state capital and met Rajbhar, but he still sounded disgruntled.
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