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20220714

Setback to Akhilesh, Rajbhar's SBSP to support Droupadi Murmu in presidential polls

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh): In another setback to the Opposition ahead of Presidential polls, Samajwadi Party ally Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) chief Om Prakash Rajbhar on Friday confirmed his support for the NDA presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu. Rajbhar who announced his decision this morning however denied any cracks within his party's alliance with the Samajwadi Party, which has pledged to support joint Opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha. The SBSP has 6 MLAs in the Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly. Rajbhar said that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Home Minister Amit Shah asked him to support the NDA candidate in the presidential elections slated to be held on July 18. "Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had invited us for dinner to discuss extending support to Murmu. He said that since I was vocal on issues of relating to the backward classes, Dalits and minorities, I should support Murmu's candidature. Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to me after July 12 and said the same things," Rajbar said addressing a press conference here today. "Shah urged me to support Murmu in the elections and I decided that my party will support her," the SBSP chief added. Rajbhar had joined hands with the BJP prior to the 2017 Assembly elections before parting ways with it. He joined the Akhilesh Yadav-led alliance before the 2022 Assembly elections in the state. Rajbhar had said recently that he would decide on whether to support Murmu or the Opposition-backed presidential candidate Yashwant Singh in a few days time while also suggesting "all is well" in the Samajwadi Party-led alliance. However, the SBSP chief had expressed discontentment over not being called by Akhilesh Yadav for a meeting held on July 7. "Akhilesh Yadav held a meeting on July 7 but did not call me. Other allies including Jayant Chaudhary were called to the meeting except us. We are still with the alliance. Rest will be decided in the future," he said. Recently, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav's uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav extended support to the NDA-backed presidential candidate Murmu. Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohiya) chief Shivpal Singh Yadav, who had patched up with his nephew ahead of the Assembly polls alleged that the SP was weakening and several of its leaders were quitting due to the "political immaturity" of Akhilesh Yadav. Shivpal's remarks came a day after, he attended a dinner party hosted by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for Murmu at his official residence in Lucknow. The dinner was attended by opposition party leaders Jansatta Dal leader Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias 'Raja Bhaiya', BSP leader Uma Shankar Singh and the SBSP chief among others.

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