SBSP chief takes a U-turn, skips attending Oppn meet

This function was seen as a show of opposition's unity and the minister's consent to attend the same was taken seriously by the BJP.

Lucknow: A day after he confirmed that he would attend the birth anniversary function of late Dr Sonelal Patel, that is being organised by the rival faction of Apna Dal in Varanasi, UP minister Om Prakash Rajbhar did a turnaround on Monday, and said that he was not aware of the fact that several opposition leaders had been invited to attend the same.

“When Apna Dal leader Pallavi Patel (estranged sister of Anupriya Patel) invited me, she told me I would be the chief guests and so I agreed. Yesterday I came to know that several opposition leaders had also been invited so I decided to opt out,” Mr Rajbhar, who is president of the Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP), told reporters on Monday.

He further said that he had worked in close association with late Dr Sonelal Patel and had, therefore, agreed to be a part of his birth anniversary function.

“I did not know that it was a function of the ‘Maha-gathbandhan’. I am still a part of the BJP alliance,” he asserted.

Sources close to the minister said that Mr Rajbhar had retraced his steps because the BJP refused to react to his outing with Apna Dal and there were speculations that the BJP could severe its ties with SBSP if he attended the opposition function.

The Apna Dal (S) led by union minister, Anupriya Patel, organized the birth anniversary function in Lucknow where Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and union minister Ram Vilas Paswan were the chief guests.

Mr Rajbhar was supposed to attend a similar function in Varanasi, organized by Krishna Patel, the estranged mother of Anupriya Patel, who is leading the breakaway faction of Apna Dal.

This function was seen as a show of opposition’s unity and the minister’s consent to attend the same was taken seriously by the BJP.

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