Lucknow: UP Cabinet Minister and Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) president Om Prakash Rajbhar has warned the ruling BJP saying the country has had a history of governments falling because of price rise.
"In our country, there is a history of governments falling due to price rise. The people of the country have the real power. Whenever there is rise in petrol or diesel prices, the party in power has to suffer as this affects traders, youths, farmers and the poor," Rajbhar said in a Tweet on Sunday.
On the day of the opposition party's Bharat Bandh, called to protest the "rise in prices and weakening of rupee", the SP and Congress came out in support of Rajbhar.
Echoing Rajbhar's views, Samajwadi Party MLC Rajpal Kashyap said, "While the opposition is protesting against the price of petrol and diesel, the rates have gone up this morning. This reflects the government's audacity, arrogance and callousness. The BJP feels price rise is hardly to be worried about."
In similar vein, Congress state president Raj Babbar said, "The rise in prices of petrol and diesel have severely affected the common man and the government was not serious about dealing with the public's woes. Congress party will continue fighting for the people."
On proposed changes in the SC/ST Act, Rajbhar tweeted, "I am against the amendment made by the government. It should not be misused. I am with the Supreme Court on this. Fights take place between two to four people but cases are registered against eight to ten." "We are not playing the Dalit or upper caste card on this issue. We are playing the true card, which means we are saying whatever is true on the ground. Those who have been booked under the SC/ST Act, know about its misuse. Others will not understand," he said.
This is not the first time that Rajbhar has left the BJP government red-faced with his remarks.
The minister had earlier claimed that corruption had increased under the Adityanath Yogi dispensation in the state. The charges were rubbished by the BJP.
"There is more corruption prevailing under the BJP regime when compared to the previous SP and BSP regimes. Though I am a part of this government, this is not my government," Rajbhar had earlier told PTI.
A BJP spokesperson had dubbed the minister's charges as an attempt to "garner cheap publicity" and said if Rajbhar had grievances, he should air them at an appropriate forum.
During the last Rajya Sabha biennial elections in Uttar Pradesh, Rajbhar had kept the Bharatiya Janata Party on tenterhooks over his support to BJP's extra candidate from Uttar Pradesh.
When asked whether his party will continue its alliance with BJP till 2019, Rajbhar has maintained, "We have formed an alliance till 2024. If BJP says it does not need us, I will immediately return them my ministerial post. If raising voice for the backward people is wrong, then BJP can immediately snap ties with us."
The minister said the state has a budget of Rs 3,000 crore for scholarships. But only Rs 1,085 crore was allotted for scholarships for backward class students.
He said a state government order issued on April 16 allowed scheduled caste, minority and general category students who could not apply for scholarships, or if there were some discrepancies in their cases to do so online, but no such initiative was undertaken for the backward class students. "The government order smacked of step-motherly treatment, but the backward class leaders in BJP do not have the guts to speak in front of the CM," the minister said. "A government is run with the support of everyone, but this is not done here," he said.
The minister said when he discussed this with Yogi Adityanth, he was told more money was allotted in this year's budget for scholarships, compared to the previous Samajwadi Party government. "I don't know what was done earlier. I want scholarships for 100 per cent of backward class students," the minister had said. He has also levelled allegations over the appointments to the state's selection board for teachers.
Rajbhar, who leads BJP ally Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP), has rued that his party was not getting the due respect under the present government.
Rajbhar's party has four MLAs in the 403-member UP Assembly.
Asked whether his party would contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls with the BJP, Rajbhar said it depends on the saffron party.
"It depends on the BJP whether it wants an alliance with us or not. Like local body polls, if the BJP does not forge an alliance with us, we will contest the Lok Sabha polls alone," he said. The SBSP had contested the Uttar Pradesh civic polls separately. It had even contested a few seats in the Gujarat Assembly elections on its own, asserting that its alliance with the BJP was not at the national-level. PTI