‘BJP Govt Against OBCs’: Ally Om Prakash Rajbhar Quits Ministry
Om Prakash Rajbhar resigns, accusing Yogi Adityanath of being against OBCs. Is BJP losing another ally?
The BJP is on the verge of losing another ally, that too, in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh. Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party leader Om Prakash Rajbhar resigned as the minister for the welfare of backward classes in the Yogi Adityanath government on Thursday, 14 February.
In his resignation letter addressed to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, he wrote:
- “There is a lot of anger among the backward castes over the ineffective delivery of scholarships and fee waivers to backward caste students as well as the government’s failure to divide the 27 percent OBC quota as per the recommendations of the social justice committee report”
- “None of the names suggested by me for the backward classes commission were selected”
- “People belonging to backward castes have lot of expectations from me. But because of the state government’s repeated neglect of the interests of backward castes, I have been unable to get them their due”
- “Due to the state government’s neglect and bias against backward castes, I am resigning from the backward classes welfare ministry”
Speaking to the media before submitting his resignation, Rajbhar said, “I had given several names for the backward classes commission but not one of them was accepted. The chief minister appointed all the members on his own. Then what is the point of me holding this department, the chief minister should manage it himself.”
While Rajbhar continues to be the minister for the welfare of the specially abled, he has said that he will resign from that ministry and end the alliance with the BJP on 24 February if his demands are not met.
Rajbhar’s main demand is the creation of sub-categories in the 27 percent quota for OBCs. According to him, the advantages of this quota are being captured by four dominant OBC communities: Yadavs, Jats, Kurmis and Sonars.
In an interview to The Economic Times in May last year, Rajbhar said that the 27 percent OBC quota should be divided in the following manner:
- 5-6 percent for Yadavs, Jats, Kurmis and Sonars
- 7-8 percent for Extremely Backward Castes
- 13-14 percent for Most Backward Castes
Rajbhar has been consistently criticising the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh on a number of issues. For instance, he had ridiculed Yogi Adityanath for changing the names of “Muslim sounding” cities and places and said that the BJP should begin by changing the names of its own Muslim leaders. He had also warned that the BJP could spark communal polarisation across Uttar Pradesh in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.
The SBSP leader is said to be in touch with both Mahagathbandhan of the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal as well as the Congress, for a possible alliance in Uttar Pradesh.
The SBSP, which primarily represents the Rajbhar community, has pockets of influence in Eastern Uttar Pradesh districts like Ghazipur, Chandauli, Kushinagar, Mau, Azamgarh, Ballia and Jaunpur. It has four MLAs in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, including Rajbhar who won from the Zahoorabad constituency in Ghazipur district in 2017.
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