Two days after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath sacked him from the Ministry, Om Prakash Rajbhar on Wednesday put up a brave face, saying his party’s legislators stood united with him.Rubbishing reports that three Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) MLAs were planning to shift to the BJP, Mr. Rajbhar dismissed them as “rumours”. He said Triveni Ram, Ramanand Baudh and Kailash Nath Sonkar were standing “like a rock” with the party. “We are comrades of a common struggle. The BJP can try all it wants but its schemes won’t succeed,” Mr. Rajbhar tweeted.Mr. Baudh came out in the support of his leader. Mr. Rajbhar is a “great man” who fights for the rights of Dalits, backwards and the poor, he said. “We reject slavery. BJP wanted us to be slaves. We are standing with the SBSP with full force. I will never leave the party,” he said.Mr. Adityanath sacked Mr. Rajbhar for his open rebellion against the BJP during the Lok Sabha election, with the SBSP not only fielding more than 40 candidates to hurt the BJP but also openly campaigning for candidates of the Opposition Congress and SP-BSP alliance. Mr. Rajbhar has regularly targeted the BJP for not implementing the recommendations of a social justice committee calling for sub-categorisation of the OBC quota that would benefit the most-backward castes including his own, Rajbhars.Mr. Rajbhar had been on the warpath against the BJP after it denied him ticket on his own symbol. The BJP wanted him to contest from the Ghosi seat in Purvanchal on its symbol.
Plastic pipes and vehicles outside a State infrastructure agency godown here were set ablaze on Sunday, a day after farmers clashed with police demanding adequate compensation for their land that was acquired for an upcoming township by the agency. The incident took place around 11 a.m. outside the godown of the Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Development Authority (UPSIDA) which acquired the land for the Trans-Ganga City project near Kanpur, officials said. “Some anti-social elements had set fire to plastic pipes kept outside the godown. Apart from this, two vehicles were also set afire,” Additional District Magistrate Rakesh Singh said. “No farmer has so far claimed responsibility for Sunday’s act, which means that the work has been done by anti-social elements,” District Magistrate Devendra Kumar Pandey said. On Saturday, farmers demanding better compensation for their land clashed with the police when government officials visited the project site to clear the encroachment. Several farmers were injured as the police baton-charged them, used tear gas and water cannons. Many police personnel were also injured as the protesters targeted them with stones. Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Kisan Manch, a forum working for welfare of farmers, claimed that the growers were not indulging in violent protests and were only demanding adequate compensation for their land. “Nearly 30% of the farmers of the clash-hit area are yet to get compensation from the government,” RKM president Shekhar Dixit said on Sunday. The district magistrate, however, had said on Saturday that the farmers were adequately compensated.Priyanka tweetCongress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra shared a 22-second-long video of the clash on Twitter. “UP Chief Minister is making big speeches in Gorakhpur, but see the condition of his police. A farmer in Unnao is lying semi-conscious after being beaten by laathi (stick). He is still being beaten up. There should be some shame. A person who grows grains for you is subjected to such cruelty,” she tweeted.