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BJP misleading people: Ally

Om Prakash Rajbhar said the people wanted education and jobs, not a temple
Yogi Adityanath
Yogi Adityanath
(File picture)

Piyush Srivastava   |   Lucknow   |   Published 27.10.18, 08:27 PM

One of Yogi Adityanath’s ministers and allies on Saturday publicly accused the BJP of misleading and dividing the people by raising the issue of a Ram temple in Ayodhya before the general election.

Backward class welfare minister Om Prakash Rajbhar, whose Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party has four MLAs and claims to represent the most backward castes (MBCs), said the people wanted education and jobs, not a temple.

He accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah of reneging on a promise to him to provide a separate quota for the MBCs within the Other Backward Classes quota, and asked a crowd whether he should dump the BJP.

“BJP leaders are trying to remind you of the temple issue. They are dividing you in the name of the temple and the (Babri) mosque,” Rajbhar told a rally in Lucknow, held to celebrate his party’s 16th anniversary.

“But we don’t need a temple or mosque in Ayodhya; we want education and jobs. We want our children to become police constables, sub-inspectors, tehsildars, circle officers, superintendents of police and district magistrates. We need reservations within reservations to achieve this target.”

He added: “I speak only the bitter truth. The BJP has broken its promise of giving us reservation within the 27 per cent earmarked for the OBCs. There’s not a single BJP legislator in the state who can remember the promise and muster the courage to make a statement in my support.”

Rajbhar had earlier this year accused the BJP of forgetting the people after its poll victories — “like Ram forgot his monkey army after conquering Lanka” — and called Adityanath’s government corrupt and non-functional.

Rajbhar’s perceived closeness to Shah has so far forced the chief minister to swallow the barbs, but on Saturday the MBC leader didn’t spare the BJP president, either.

“BJP leaders say, ‘Om Prakash Rajbhar speaks too much and should be punished’. I dare them to punish me for speaking against the BJP government. I’m not here to cling to the minister’s chair even if Modi and Shah keep ignoring our demands. I’m not a slave to anybody,” he said.

Rajbhar said he was fed up with the central and state governments and asked the crowd whether he should dump the BJP. A group standing near the dais shouted: “No, wait for some time.”

A rumour had been circulating since morning that Rajbhar would announce his resignation from the ministry at the rally.

Rajbhar claimed that before the 2017 Assembly elections, Modi and Shah had agreed to his demand to carve out three categories within the OBCs.

“They had agreed to categorise the OBCs as backward, very backward and most backward, and divide the 27 per cent quota equally,” he said.

“Shah told me on March 20 this year that this would be done six months before the parliamentary elections. The Election Commission’s model code of conduct would come into force from February next year for (any) election in April-May, but he is not doing anything,” he said.

“I want to say that I’m not a trader who is in politics to expand his business. I’m here for social justice.”



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