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The Hindu
The Hindu
Mayank Kumar

As wait for U.P. cabinet expansion prolongs, SP alleges simmering tensions in ruling BJP

A month after the outcome, and nearly three months since the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) led by Om Prakash Rajbhar and former MLA Dara Singh Chauhan joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the expansion of Uttar Pradesh cabinet remains in limbo.

Despite the repeated assertions by Mr. Rajbhar, that both he and Mr. Chauhan will become Ministers in the State government, the U.P. unit of BJP remains non-committal about the expansion adding it is the prerogative of the Chief Minister.

“It is natural that leaders wants to join the State cabinet, but expansion is the prerogative of the CM in the democratic set-up. It will done at an appropriate time by the CM after consultation with the organisation of our party,” said Rakesh Tripathi, U.P. BJP spokesperson. He rubbished the charges of the opposition about differences between the Central and State leadership over the issue.

Meanwhile, the Opposition Samajwadi Party (SP) targeted the ruling BJP, alleging that the delay is due to simmering tension between the Central and State BJP.

“The delay signifies that all is not well between the central BJP leadership and the Chief Minister. Mr. Rajbhar has become another A.K. Sharma who was kept waited for long to join the cabinet despite Delhi’s blessings,” said Ameeque Jamei, the SP national spokesperson.

The SBSP chief has repeatedly stated that both he and Mr. Chauhan would become Ministers in the UP government. “We will become Ministers,” Mr. Rajbhar had said after Ghosi byelection in which Mr. Chauhan who switched sides joining the BJP was defeated by a margin of over 40,000 votes by the SP nominee Sudhakar Singh.

The SP further added that both Mr. Rajbhar and Mr. Chauhan are facing flak from their support base who want a caste census to be conducted expeditiously while the U.P. government has as yet declined to do so.

The byelection was necessitated by Dara Singh Chauhan quitting as SP MLA. In the recently concluded Monsoon session the SP General Secretary Shivpal Singh Yadav sarcastically suggested the U.P. CM Yogi Adityanath to get administer the oath of office quickly to the SBSP president or else he may rejoin the SP-led opposition alliance again.

While political circles in Lucknow are also abuzz that the debacle of Ghosi forced the BJP to toe the line of some U.P. leaders who are sceptical of new entrants’ potential and calling for ‘cautious’ approach.

“It seems the U.P. CM was not very enthusiastic from these two leaders joining the NDA. Their was scepticism and doubt over their utility which in a validated from Ghosi byelection. Hence, the party is taking a cautious approach over the expansion. Moreover, it is believed both leaders joining was done through New Delhi, hence state leadership is less enthuse,” said Ram Dutt Tripathi, a senior political analyst based in Lucknow.

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