SP fails to win over Raja Bhaiya for RS polls in UP

Lucknow, Feb 21 (IANS): The Samajwadi Party’s efforts to break the ice with former minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh aka Raja Bhaiya and ensure his support for SP in the upcoming Rajya Sabha biennial elections, seems to have been an exercise in futility.

Raja Bhaiya, according to sources, is in no mood to switch loyalties from BJP to SP.

Raja Bhaiya, who shared a warm rapport with late Mulayam Singh Yadav, has had a tumultuous relationship with Akhilesh Yadav.

A minister in the Akhilesh government, Raja Bhaiya had resigned in 2013 after his name figured in the murder of a DSP in his constituency. After the CBI gave him a clean chit, Mulayam Singh Yadav ensured that Raja Bhaiya was brought back into the ministry.

However, he finally snapped ties with Akhilesh when the latter allied with BSP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Raja Bhaiya’s animosity with BSP leader Mayawati is known across Uttar Pradesh. In 2002, when the BSP was in power in the state, Mayawati had jailed him under Prevention of Terrorist Act (POTA).

In 2003, when Mulayam Singh came to power, all charges against Raja Bhaiya were dropped and he was made a cabinet minister in the SP government in 2005.

The 2022 assembly polls witnessed a war of words between Akhilesh and Raja Bhaiya when the SP president asked “Who Raja Bhaiya?”

On Tuesday evening, Samajwadi state president Naresh Uttam called on Raja Bhaiya to seek his support for the Rajya Sabha polls. He even persuaded Raja Bhaiya to speak to Akhilesh on phone and the latter asked him to let bygones be bygones.

Raja Bhaiya confirmed that the meeting had taken place but refused to comment further.

“The SP state president visited me but I am not in a position to say anything more than this about the meeting,” he said.

Sources close to Raja Bhaiya said that the latter would not forget the way the SP had targeted him during the 2022 assembly polls by fielding his own former acolyte, Gulshan Yadav, against him.

“Moreover, Raja Bhaiya shares a good relationship with Yogi Adityanath and will not do anything that will spoil their relations,” said a source close to the former minister.

Raja Bhaiyya heads the Jansatta Dal Loktantrik that has two members in the state assembly.

Polling for the Rajya Sabha is due on February 27 and both, BJP and SP are facing the threat of cross voting. The eighth BJP candidate Sanjay Seth is short of eight votes while the SP also needs outside support to ensure the victory of its third candidate.




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