Om Prakash Rajbhar criticises BJP after Uttar Pradesh bypoll defeat, claims sidelining Keshav Prasad Maurya cost elections

Hitting out at ally BJP in Uttar Pradesh after its poor show in by-elections, Uttar Pradesh minister Om Prakash Rajbhar said the BJP lost the crucial Kairana and Noorpur seats because of the disenchantment amid backward community voters. Rajbhar blamed the party's decision to sideline Keshav Prasad Maurya, a prominent OBC (Other Backward Communities) leader, and to give the chief minister's post to Yogi Adityanath for the party's defeat.

File image of Yogi Adityanath (right) with Keshav Prasad Maurya (left). Facebook@KeshavPrasadMaurya

File image of Yogi Adityanath (right) with Keshav Prasad Maurya (left). Facebook@KeshavPrasadMaurya

"The BJP contested Assembly polls with Keshav Prasad Maurya (a OBC) as its face but later Yogi Adityanath was made chief minister. Backwards supported the BJP in the hope that Maurya will become chief minister. The result of this anger reflected in the defeat of the BJP in bypolls," Rajbhar, who is cabinet minister and head of Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party, told PTI over phone.

Previously, the BJP had lost the Phulpur Lok Sabha seat represented by Maurya along with the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat, which was held for five terms by Adityanath

Asked whether Adityanath is responsible for the defeat in the 28 May bypolls, he said, "Government is responsible. The BJP should introspect about reasons of its defeat. It's up to the BJP whom to make chief minister. It's up to the party to make Yogi or Keshav as chief minister." But Since the government is led by Yogi Adityanath, "it's his responsibility as much as mine," Rajbhar told NDTV.

"It is the BJP's internal matter. But I want to say that the participation in governance of the poor and the backward at the local level is not being ensured," he added.

According to a report in The Indian Express, on 1 June, Rajbhar had blamed the failure to publicise the work done by the state government as responsible for the losses. "Besides caste groupism, our failure to properly publicise our welfare work for the poor and the backwards was the reason for the defeat," he had said.

He also blamed corruption among officials and their failure to implement welfare schemes as other reasons behind the saffron party's poor show and added that it would have no effect on the next Lok Sabha election, the report said.

Rajbhar also blamed the BJP for failing to address the grievances of the sugarcane farmers in the state. He said, "We couldn't pay sugarcane farmers, which is a matter of concern. There is also the issue of the high court which we could not resolve even after four years. If we are in power, and we failed, who should be held accountable? The opposition?," ANI quoted Rajbhar as saying.

The BJP lost the Kairana Lok Sabha seat and the Noorpur Assembly seat in the recent bypolls.

Tabassum Hasan of the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) won the Kairana seat by a margin of 44,618 votes, while Naeemul Hasan of the Samajwadi Party bagged the Noorpur Assembly seat by 5,662 votes.
The winning RLD candidate in Kairana was backed by the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party. In Noorpur, the main Opposition parties supported the Samajwadi Party candidate.
With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jun 05, 2018 13:01 PM

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