Rajbhar seeks meeting with SP chief, says will then announce party’s choice for presidential poll

SBSP president Om Prakash Rajbhar on Monday said he has sought time from Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav to discuss their alliance, indicating that the meeting’s outcome could determine his party’s stand on the presidential election.

The Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) leader also asserted that he will wait till Tuesday to know the Samajwadi Party (SP) chief’s stand before taking a decision on whom to vote in the upcoming presidential election.

“I would like to know from the SP chief that under what circumstances, was I not invited in the programme organised for the joint-opposition candidate for the presidential election, Yashwant Sinha,” he told.

Rajbhar said he will also discuss other issues concerning the coalition of which his party is a part of.

The SBSP leader, who created a flutter in the opposition grouping by attending a dinner hosted by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in honour of NDA’s presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu on Friday, said he will announce whom his party will vote for in the July 18 election after deliberating with party workers.

“I would like to meet Akhlesh Yadav and have talks with him regarding the alliance. On Sunday, I had a telephonic conversation with SP leader Udayveer Singh in this regard. I informed Singh that I wish to meet Akhilesh Yadav,” Rajbhar told PTI.

SBSP has six MLAs in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly. The party chief had fought the recent state assembly polls as a partner of the SP-led opposition grouping.

He expressed happiness over the candidature of Murmu, adding that he fights for the cause of Dalits and most backwards classes.

On asked if praising Murmu meant supporting the NDA candidate, he said, “Whatever is right, I am saying it.”

Without elaborating, he said, “There is still time for the elections.” Rajbhar added that Bhimrao Ambedkar, Ram Manohar Lohia and Deendayal Upadhyay wanted that marginalised people should be brought ahead in politics.

Rajbhar and Shivpal Yadav, who heads the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia), had last week attended the dinner hosted by Adityanath in the honour of Murmu, a development showing chink in the opposition camp that is backing Yashwant Sinha for the top constitutional post.

Jansatta Dal Loktantrik chief Raghuraj Pratap Singh, also known as Raja Bhaiya, and the lone BSP MLA in Uttar Pradesh, Uma Shankar Singh were also present at the dinner held at the chief minister’s official residence.

Rajbhar, an influential OBC leader, was with the BJP in 2017 before joining the SP-led opposition in the 2022 state polls. He also visited Buxar in neighbouring Bihar on Monday to attend the funeral of Uttar Pradesh minister Dayashankar Singh’s father.

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