Lucknow: BJP ally Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) has been cornering the saffron party over its promise to implement divisions under 27% reservation for backward classes. Reiterating the party’s demand, its president and UP minister OP Rajbhar said on Friday, “Eighty days are left till elections, when will you do it? If you don’t keep your promise we’ll contest on all 80 seats.” (Also read: Rajbhar Seeks Army Rule in Ayodhya) Also Read - 3 Local BJP Leaders Killed by Militants in Kashmir’s Kulgam, Resistance Front Claims Responsibility
He added that his party would bring out its candidate list on February 25. Also Read - Former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel Passes Away at 92, PM Modi Mourns His Death
This week itself, party general secretary and Rajbhar’s son Arvind had said that the coming together of arch-rivals Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Uttar Pradesh was a “big challenge” for the BJP. Also Read - Vanathi Srinivasan Appointed BJP Women's Wing President
“If it doesn’t agree to the demand of sub-categorisation of OBC quota put forward by Om Prakash Rajbhar, this alliance will remain a big challenge for the BJP,” he had told PTI.
Rajbhar, a minister in the Yogi Adityanath-led government in the state, has been vocal about implementing an expert group recommendation on sub-categorisation of the 27 per cent OBC quota into three categories to benefit the most backward castes.
Asked if his party could join the Opposition alliance in case the SBSP’s demands were not met, Arvind said, “We haven’t had any talks with the Opposition. If the BJP doesn’t agree to our demand (sub-categorisation), in that scenario, we can go into the grand alliance, all options are open.”
Arvind’s remarks come about a week after another NDA constituent, Apna Dal (Sonelal), warned the BJP of going to “any extent” if it does not change its attitude to smaller parties in the ruling coalition. SBSP has four MLAs in Uttar Pradesh, while Apna Dal (S) has nine.
Apna Dal (S) president Ashish Patel had told party members in Lucknow that the party can take “any decision” but did not elaborate.
“Our party (Apna Dal-S) has been in alliance with the BJP since 2014 and is discharging the alliance dharma with full honesty. But in Uttar Pradesh it is not at all getting the respect, which it deserves,” Patel had said.