NDA ally and minister in the Uttar Pradesh government, OP Rajbhar, landed himself in a controversy after he said why only common people suffer during communal riots. “Neta kyun nahi marta (why don’t leaders die?)” Mr Rajbhar said, while addressing a rally in Aligarh on Sunday.
“Did any big politician die in Hindu-Muslim riots? Why don’t politicians die? Set fire on the politicians who try to make you fight on the basis on religion; then they will understand and stop ‘burning’ others,” Mr Rajbhar said.
The minister, who has often been critical of the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, went on to say that “Netas create divisions between Hindus and Muslims” but as per the Constitution of India, a person who is eligible to cast his vote is a citizen of India and “he can’t be thrown out”.
Earlier on Saturday, Mr Rajbhar threatened to pull out of the NDA, if the main party in the alliance – the BJP – does not want to continue.
Mr Rajbhar’s remarks come at a time when political rivals, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) joined hands to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA in the 2019 parliamentary elections.
The rebel UP minister has given 100 days to the BJP to decide whether it wants to collectively fight the general elections. Mr Rajbhar further added that if he does not get a suitable response within the set time frame, his party – the Suheldev Bahujan Samaj Party (SBSP) will contest on all 80 seats solo.
Mr Rajbhar had launched a scathing attack on Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, after the later went on a renaming spree. He had asked the BJP to change the names of its Muslim leaders before changing the names of different places.
“BJP changed the names of Mughalsarai and Faizabad. They say they were named after the Mughals. They have a national spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain, union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Uttar Pradesh minister Mohsin Raza – three Muslim faces of the BJP. They should change their names first,” the SBSP chief had said.