BJP ally and minister of the Uttar Pradesh government, OP Rajbhar has put himself into a controversy after a speech at a public rally on Sunday. Mr. Rajbhar asked to his rally in Aligarh why only common people, not politicians, die in a communal riot. His statement “Neta kyun nahi marta (why don’t leaders die?)” has been criticized.

Mr. Rajbhar said, “Did any big politician die in Hindu-Muslim riots? Why don’t politicians die? Set fire to politicians who try to make you fight on the basis on religion; then they will understand and stop ‘burning’ others.”

The minister, who has often criticized the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, went on to say that “Netas create divisions between Hindus and Muslims” although the constitution deems any person eligible to cast his vote a citizen of India and “they can’t be thrown out”.

On Saturday, Mr. Rajbhar had threatened to pull out of the BJP-led NDA party.

Mr. Rajbhar’s remarks came as the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) joined hands to take on the BJP in the 2019 parliamentary elections. The UP minister has threatened the BJP to jointly fight the general election. Mr. Rajbhar said that his party – the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) would compete for all 80 seat solo if he did not get a suitable response.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath went on a renaming spree. The rebel BJP ally scornfully attacked him and asked the BJP to change the names of its Muslim leaders before changing the names of places.

The minister said, “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.”

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