Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP)

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Akhilesh Singh, Little Suheldev party is BJP's big bet, March 4, 2017: The Times of India

This east UP district, otherwise known as home to the Ansari brothers and for its opium factory , is also being discussed for a unique BJP caste experiment and the saffron party's partner Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP).

SBSP chief Om Prakash Rajbhar is the party candidate here, drawing strength from his caste, which accounts for about 1% of UP's population and is present across several east UP constituencies. BJP has strategically allied with this MBC outfit, which is contesting on eight seats and expected to help its bigger partner gain Rajbhars' support in more than 30 seats.

Several SPSB nominees are in the fray in constituencies of some mighty rivals. So, if Om Prakash is NDA candidate from Jahurabad, his son, Arvind Rajbhar, is fighting against Akhilesh Yadav loyalist Ram Gobind Choudhary in Bansdih, Ballia. His brother-in-law, Mahendra Rajbhar, is up against BSP strongman Mukhtar Ansari in Mau.

But with three of eight candidates from his family, Om Prakash is accused of nepotism. Two-time MLA and the BSP nominee here, Kalicharan Rajbhar, says Om Prakash is obsessed more with family than the community . Om Prakash's own fate in Jahurabad may hang in balance but his community -followers of 11th century king maharaja Suheldev -is strongly rallying behind BJP . Suheldev, a warrior king, wielded influence around Bahraich and is revered by both Rajbhars and Pasis. Much before allying with the SBSP , BJP had started wooing Pasis and Rajbhars, resurrecting Suheldev as an icon. His picture was put up at the spruced up BJP state headquarters.

Amit Shah unveiled a Suheldev statue in Bahariach and released a book on him. The BJP chief called Suheldev a national hero. Later, the government launched the Suheldev Express, a superfast train from Ghazipur to Anand Vihar.And then came the alliance with Rajbhar's party .

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