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25 Mar 2019, Edition - 1350, Monday

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India News

PM Modi to address rally in Ghazipur today, NDA allies Apna Dal, SBSP to boycott

indiatoday.in

Amid growing pressure from allies in the ruling NDA government, especially Apna Dal and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a public rally at the RTI ground in Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh today.

A commemorative postal stamp on the Rajbhar community icon Raja Suheldev is likely to be released by the prime minister at the rally.

However, senior minister in the Yogi Adityanath government and SBSP president Om Prakash Rajbhar, who is also an MLA from Zahoorabad assembly constituency in the Ghazipur district, announced that he will not attend the prime minister’s programme.

“I will not attend the December 29 [today] programme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Ghazipur,” Rajbhar had said a few days ago.

Rajbhar is sore over the commemorative postal stamp on the backward caste leader which is not carrying his full name, Maharaja Suheldev Rajbhar.

Rajbhar, which is an OBC (Other Backward Class) community, constitutes a significant population in Purvanchal and during 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly election, the BJP had roped in SBSP to woo Rajbhars. BJP even made Om Prakash Rajbhar a cabinet minister in the state government.

Reflecting on the “friction” with the BJP, Apna Dal’s Mirzapur MP Anupriya Patel, who is also part of the Union cabinet, said she stands by the remarks of her husband and party president Ashish Patel, who had voiced frustration with the saffron party over its “treatment” of smaller NDA allies.

Ashish Patel had alleged at a press conference in Mirzapur that smaller parties were feeling “ignored” by the bigger NDA partner — the BJP.

The Apna Dal (S) has presence in over 15 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh.

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