A political slugfest intensified in Uttar Pradesh after Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday issued a letter asking ally OP Rajbhar and uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav to leave if they are “getting more respect" in any other party. The Presidential election, which was held on July 18, came as the latest flashpoint in the ongoing rift between these UP leaders.
The letter by the Samajwadi Party came days after Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia supremo Shivpal and Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party chief Rajbhar voted in favour of NDA Presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu. The development could be termed as a formal breaking up of the alliance partners for the 2022 UP assembly polls and is also likely to create obstacles for the SP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Rajbhar and Shivpal have been at loggerheads ever since the Samajwadi Party lost the bypolls on Azamgarh and Rampur Lok Sabha seats. Rajbhar had even given a statement taking a dig at the SP Chief and had advised him to leave the comfort of AC rooms if he wanted to win the elections.
“…You are free to go anywhere you feel you are getting more respect," the letter addressed to Rajbhar stated, adding that he has strong relations with the BJP and has been constantly working to strengthen them.
Samajwadi Party issues letters to Pragatisheel Samajwadi party chief Shivpal Singh Yadav and SBSP chief OP Rajbhar stating "…You are free to go anywhere you feel you are getting more respect." pic.twitter.com/BR5Igvfp6N— ANI UP/Uttarakhand (@ANINewsUP) July 23, 2022
Responding to Samajwadi Party’s letter, Rajbhar’s son, Arvind Rajbhar tweeted, “I have seen these days how a political suicide is committed. Thanks to Akhilesh Yadav Ji, we will meet again." The tweet by Arvind was retweeted by his father.
On Friday, Rajbhar was given ‘Y’ security cover, a move being seen as a “return gift" for supporting Murmu in the presidential polls. He had also attended a dinner hosted by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in honour of Murmu after which Rajbhar had announced that his MLAs will vote in her favour. Moreover, Shivpal Yadav had also went to attend the dinner hosted by Adityanath for Murmu.
On Monday, Akhilesh accused his uncle Shivpal Yadav of working on the BJP’s “directions" by alleging that the opposition presidential candidate Yashwant Sinha had once called SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav an “ISI agent".
While Akhilesh was supporting Sinha, Shivpal, who has been elected an MLA on SP ticket, had publicly announced his support for Murmu. Speaking to reporters at the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Bhavan, Akhilesh had said, “There was an ‘ishara’ (direction) from Delhi (by the BJP) after which a deputy chief minister tweeted an old newspaper article highlighting Sinha’s ‘ISI agent’ comment on Mulayam, and then it was circulated (by Shivpal Yadav)".
Akhilesh instead reminded Shivpal that it was the Bharatiya Janata Party which had used “bad" language against “Netaji" (Mulayam Singh Yadav) and the party.
Shivpal had told reporters, “A ‘pakka’ (staunch) Samajwadi and a diehard follower of Mulayam Singh will never tolerate anyone terming him an ISI agent and will never vote for that person."
Akhilesh and Shivpal, who came together in the February-March Uttar Pradesh polls after falling apart in 2016, turned hostile to each other again after the SP’s debacle.