Row over UP deputy CM Pathak ‘making’ Arvind Rajbhar bow: Blessing or apology?

Arvind Rajbhar is a candidate for Ghosi Lok Sabha seat

UP Arvind Rajbhar bowing down row (Video Grab): Arvind Rajbhar seen bowing in front of the BJP leaders gathered in Mau | X

Was it an apology or a case of receiving blessings? A controversy erupted after Uttar Pradesh’s deputy chief minister Brajesh Pathak made Arvind Rajbhar bow before a gaggle of party workers and supporters in Mau. The bowing would not have created such a stir, but for the fact that Rajhbar is the son of Om Prakash Rajbhar- a member of the Yogi Adityanath cabinet. 

Somewhat of a maverick, the senior Rajbhar, who heads the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) was sacked from the UP cabinet in 2019 for anti-party activities. After a brief dalliance with the Samajwadi Party, Rajbhar returned to ally with the BJP in the 2022 state elections. 

Now the junior Rajbhar is a candidate from Ghosi. 

While the exact sequence of events is not clear, a video doing the rounds on Friday captures Pathak asking the assembled people- “Is this alright?” When the crowd shouts back yes, he asks Rajhbhar to first bow in front of the crowd, and then to sit on his knees, put his face down and bow again. He was also asked to chant of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and then go up. 

Those criticising the incident said that junior Rajbhar was made to apologise for his father’s anti-BJP activities; Rajbhar himself has said that the ‘junta’ (public) is like God and there is no shame in bowing and receiving its blessings. 

“Why just once, I will bow before them again and again for their blessings. Our opponents are defeated and have distorted the incident”, he said. 

Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav posted on X that the whole incident was offensive to the entire Rajbhar community. “The entire BJP leadership should apologise for this disgusting act”, wrote Yadav.

“The Rajbhar samaj will vote against the BJP and destroy their feudalistic mentality”, he added.

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