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‘Free to go elsewhere if you feel disrespected’, SP’s Akhilesh tells Mahagatbandhan allies

PSP-L’s Shivpal Singh Yadav, SBSP’s O.P Rajbhar received letters from SP, hinting at ending the alliance, after both supported rival NDA's presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu.

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Lucknow: Stating that there was “nothing left” in the alliance now, Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP) Saturday told two ‘Mahagathbandhan’ constituents — Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia (PSP-L) and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) — to go elsewhere if they felt disrespected by the SP.

In two letters issued to Shivpal Singh Yadav of the PSP-L (also Akhilesh’s estranged uncle) and SBSP chief O.P. Rajbhar, SP wrote that they were free to go “elsewhere” if they felt they could get respect there.

While the cryptic letters fell short of calling the alliance officially over, SP chief spokesperson Rajendra Chowdhary told ThePrint that the letters were clearly worded and there was “nothing left” in the alliance now.

In a tweet sent out soon after the letter went viral, Shivpal said that he was “always free” and thanked SP for giving him “independence officially”, adding that “compromise with principles and respect in political journey was unacceptable”.

A PSP-L leader ThePrint spoke to, however, declined to comment on the alliance, saying that everything had been made clear in the tweet.

Meanwhile, Rajbhar’s SBSP said that it will go with Mayawati’s BSP in the coming Lok Sabha polls and that they have accepted the “talaq (divorce)” announced by SP.

Unhone talaq de diya hain, humein talaq kabool hai (they have announced divorce, we have accepted it). We will go with the ones who respect the deprived and fight to help them get justice. We will go with the BSP,” SBSP state chief spokesperson Arun Rajbhar told ThePrint.

Asked if BSP chief Mayawati had been approached, Arun Rajbhar said that it will soon happen.

Also read: Mamata is ‘star campaigner’ for Akhilesh’s SP in UP. What does she really bring to the campaign?

Presidential row

The letters come in the wake of both Shivpal and Rajbhar defying SP’s official stance and supporting the NDA’s presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu, who Thursday won the election over the joint opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha.

While the letter to Shivpal was short and direct, the one addressed to Rajbhar was more elaborate.

“The SP is continuously fighting against the BJP. You have a nexus with the BJP and are continuously working to strengthen the BJP. If you think that you will be respected more elsewhere, then you are free to go there,” it said.

As per an official analysis, five MLAs of the SP-led Opposition in the state, defying the party line, have voted for Murmu, while all six MLAs of SBSP voted for Murmu, as had been announced by Rajbhar.

Out of 118 votes of opposition MLAs, Sinha got 111 while Murmu, who should have got 282 votes from UP MLAs, got 287 (five more).

SP leaders are of the view that a letter sent by Shivpal to Akhilesh last week attacking him for supporting Yashwant Sinha, who had once called SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav an “ISI agent”, may have led to at least five opposition MLAs to cross-vote.

“Shivpal ji’s letter has definitely had an impact on the voting in presidential polls. Several Muslim MLAs have voted for Murmu ji,” a PSP-L leader had told ThePrint after polling for the presidential election got over.

Earlier this month, party chief Rajbhar had said that they were waiting for divorce from Akhilesh’s side and on 12 July, he had announced that all six MLAs of SBSP will vote for NDA candidate Murmu in presidential polls.

An official comment from the BSP is yet to be made on the development.

(Edited by Zinnia Ray Chaudhuri)

Also read: Rajbhar vs Rajbhar — how BJP is looking to defeat a former ally in UP seat it last won in 1996


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