Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Uttar Pradesh ally Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) on Monday announced its support to the Opposition candidates in Mirzapur, Maharajganj and Bansgaon Lok Sabha constituencies, claiming that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had done nothing for the most backward castes in the past five years.
A few days ago, the nomination papers of the SBSP candidates on these seats were rejeted by the Election Commission.
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“The nomination papers of our candidates were rejected due to a conspiracy. Thus, in the last phase of polls, we have decided to not let our vote share go waste and instead have announced our support to candidates who stand a chance against the BJP and its ally,” Arun Rajbhar, SBSP general secretary and son of party chief Om Prakash Rajbhar, said on Monday.
The BJP-SBSP ties had become strained in April when the seat-sharing talks for the Lok Sabha polls failed. Upset, the SBSP had decided to go for polls alone and fielded 39 candidates in the state.
In Mirzapur, the SBSP chief and state cabinet minister Om Prakash Rajbhar said the party would back Congress candidate Lalitesh Pati Tripathi, who is contesting against Union minister and Apna Dal (Sonelal) leader Anupriya Patel. The Apna Dal (Sonelal) is also a BJP ally. Lalitesh had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 election against Patel.
In Maharajganj, the SBSP offered its support to Akhilesh Singh of SP, who is contesting against BJP’s Pankaj Chaudhary, a five-term MP. In Bansgaon, alliance candidate and BSP leader Sadal Prasad was offered SBSP’s support. He is contesting against the two-term BJP MP from the seat, Kamlesh Paswan.
“There is a reason why the prime minister has started referring to himself as ati-pichara (most backward). While the most backward castes had voted in BJP’s favour in anticipation of a sub-quota within reservation, the party had done nothing despite having the governments both at the center and in the state. Even our party chief, being an alliance partner, constantly reminded them (BJP) of the same but to no avail,” said Arun.
He claimed that at least 20 LS seats each in UP – including Varanasi, Mirzapur, Bansgaon and Maharajganj – have more than 1 lakh voters from the most backward castes.