Friday, January 28News That Matters

Samajwadi Party claims sitting OBC legislators from BJP joining party; all eyes on December 7 Meerut rally

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 5

While the BJP is working hard to build an all-caste matrix for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, sources in the main rival Samajwadi Party claim that many sitting Other Backward Class legislators from the saffron party have shown willingness to switch sides to the party ahead of the 2022 polls.

BJP leaders dismissed the possibility of any senior leader making any such move, saying that the ruling party will have to drop several sitting legislators on the basis of their performance and to beat the anti-incumbency factor. So, it is quite natural that those who do not get the BJP ticket will be looking at other avenues, they add.

In the previous Assembly elections, the BJP had dropped 15-20% of the sitting MLAs. However, the figure is expected to be higher this time.

As stakeholders from across the spectrum aim for the support of the crucial non-Yadav OBC “vote bank”, all eyes are on the December 7 rally of SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav and RLD president Jayant Chaudhary when the two make formal announcement of the alliance.

The day may also witness leaders from other parties joining the coalition. Sources say seat-sharing talks between the two sides are in the last stage. Given the importance of the Western UP in the farmer/Jat politics and the repealed farms laws, the BJP is keeping a close eye on the Meerut rally.

The Samajwadi Party, which does not have much presence in the nerve centre of farmer politics, is depending heavily on the Jat-dominated RLD. Though it is believed to have been “reasonably successful” in tapping the OBC community in the Purvanchal region following alliance with the Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party chief Om Prakash Rajbhar

In 2017, the BJP contested in alliance with the SBSP.

The BJP is countering the SP-SBSP alliance with coalition with small caste parties, some of which were earlier with Rajbhar’s Bhagidari Sankalp Morcha.

Meanwhile, top leaders of the BJP are also planning rallies in the poll-bound state next week.

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