BJP ally Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) skipped the event to mark Adityanath government’s one year in power on Monday, and its president and Cabinet Minister Om Prakash Rajbhar threatened that his four MLAs would boycott the March 23 Rajya Sabha elections if BJP national president Amit Shah did not speak to him.
Moments later, Rajbhar told The Indian Express that he has been asked to meet Shah at 2 pm on Tuesday. “Rest would depend on tomorrow’s talks,” he added. Soon after Rajbhar announced his boycott, state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Khanna met him. However, party insiders said he was adamant to meet Shah and a meeting was scheduled. Earlier in the day, Rajbhar accused BJP of not following “coalition dharma” and not taking his party into confidence before announcing Anil Agarwal as the ninth candidate for the Rajya Sabha polls. He said this was despite the BJP requiring SBSP MLAs’ votes to ensure the win of the ninth candidate.
“Hum bahishkar kar denge, agar baat nahi hogi (We will boycott… if they do not talk to us)…,” Rajbhar said, claiming that several letters have been sent to Shah in this regard but no reply has been received yet. While the BJP can easily get eight candidates elected to the Rajya Sabha, it will only be left with 15 votes to elect Agarwal. Agarwal will need the vote of 37 MLAs to be elected. The party is banking on the votes of its allies — nine from Apna Dal and four from SBSP. It would need another nine votes.
“They are thinking that we would merge with them but why should we? We run our own party. After forming the government in the state, they neglected the poor… when they were fielding the ninth candidate, for which they need our votes, at least then we should have been informed… but they are not interested in dialogue,” Rajbhar told mediapersons.