OBC leader Rajbhar meets Shah, joins NDA

New Delhi: In a boost to the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, OBC leader Om Prakash Rajbhar announced on Sunday his return to the ruling National Democratic Alliance following a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah.

Shah on Sunday tweeted a picture of their meeting and welcomed the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) founder-leader to the NDA. Rajbhar was accompanied by his son Arvind Rajbhar.

O P Rajbhar said both parties will fight the 2024 Lok Sabha polls together and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior BJP leaders, including Shah.  The home minister, who has been the key BJP minder on its political manoeuvres in Uttar Pradesh, said his entry will strengthen the NDA in the state and further boost its efforts under Modi for the welfare of the poor and deprived.

In a tweet, Rajbhar said, “The BJP and the SBSP have come together. They will fight together for social justice, national security, good governance, the deprived, exploited, farmers, poor, Dalits, youth and women, and to empower every poor section”.

Rajbhar, who enjoys influence especially among his Rajbhar community which is present in sizeable numbers in eastern Uttar Pradesh, is now expected to attend the NDA meeting on July 18 here in what is being seen as a show of strength by the ruling alliance in the run up to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Rajbhar’s alliance with the Samajwadi Party was considered an important reason for the BJP’s relatively average performance in parts of ‘poorvanchal’ during the 2022 assembly polls.

He was a BJP ally earlier as well but had parted ways with the party ahead of the assembly polls.

The BJP’s decision to woo him back into the NDA highlights its micro efforts to strengthen its presence all-round the state which sends 80 MPs to Lok Sabha.

The decision of another OBC leader from ‘Poorvanchal’, Dara Singh Chauhan, to resign as a Samajwadi Party MLA on Saturday is seen as part of the BJP’s larger exercise to bolster its ranks.

Chauhan was in the BJP earlier but had joined the SP ahead of the 2022 assembly polls.