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Pasis, Rajbhars cross swords over political legacy of Maharaja Suheldev

First India Bureau

Lucknow:   A row has erupted between Pasi and Rajbhar communities in UP over the political legacy of the 11th century ruler Maharaja Suheldev of Bahraich.

At a time when president of Suheldeo Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) and former minister Om Prakash Rajbhar has been trying to mobilise his community in the name of the legendry ruler, the BJP MP from Bansgaon Kamlesh Paswan has shot off a letter to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath asserting that Maharaja Suheldev belonged to Pasi community and was not from Rajbhar samaj. Paswan has sent the copies of the letter to President Ramnath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi also.

In his letter Paswan said that he had come to know through the statement of Minister Anil Rajbhar that the state government has planned to name upcoming memorials in Bahraich after the name of Suheldev “Rajbhar”, which was not historically correct.

Paswan, who has also sent a copy of history of Pasi Samaj to the chief minister, said distortion in the Pasi history has caused resentment in the community. He said the state government should thoroughly review the history of Pasi community and the memorial should be named as Maharaja Shuheldev Pasi.

Thus, the vote bank politics has brought the two communities at loggerheads. Omprakash Rajbhar has already named his political outfit after the ruler while other political parties have been trying to win over the community through their Rajbhar leaders. 

However, the disputing the claim of Paswan, Omprakash Rajbhar asserted that historically it was proved beyond doubt that Maharaja Suheldev was from “Bhar” community and any governmental effort to change the nomenclature would be opposed strongly. 

Omprakash Rajbhar has also planned to organise conferences in community-dominated areas to apprise the people of the contribution of the 11th century ruler.

Rajbhar community, which is politically significant in at least 15 assembly constituencies in Purvanchal, has been hopping from one another party in successive elections . 

The community had been shifting allegiance from BSP to Samajwadi Party and BJP. During BSP regime (2007-12) the then chief minister Mayawati had propped up several Rajbhar leaders including Omprakash Rajbhar.

However, the Pasi community never pulled on well with BSP for caste rivalry in the rural areas among Dalits. Of late the Pasi community is closely associated with the BJP. 

This is a second largest community among the Dalits. Senior BSP leader Ramachal Rajbhar said during Mayawati regime several projects including his statute in Lucknow were launched in Suheldev’s name which is a revered icon in Purvanchal. 

However, with Paswan raising the caste-based issue it is going to generate political heat in the state in coming days.


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