RS Kushwaha said his meeting with Akhilesh Yadav was a courtesy meeting

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Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) National General Secretary RS Kushwaha met Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav today, triggering speculations of his shifting allegiance ahead of next year’s Uttar Pradesh Assembly election.

However, the interaction at the Samajwadi Party office has been described by both sides as a “courtesy meeting”.

“Former (state) BSP president RS Kuswaha had a courtesy meeting with party president Akhilesh Yadav,” the Samajwadi Party tweeted with a picture of both the leaders.

When asked, Kushwaha told news agency PTI it was a courtesy meeting.

“Yes, I met Akhileshji. It was a courtesy meeting,” he said without elaborating on the talks he had with the Samajwadi Party chief.

Hailing from Lakhimpur, RS Kushwaha was the BSP’s Uttar Pradesh unit president when the Mahagathbandhan was forged between the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party in 2018. He has been an MLA and MLC and had contested against Congress chief Sonia Gandhi from the Rae Bareli constituency in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

Last week, expelled BSP leaders Lalji Verma and Ram Achal Rajbhar met Akhilesh Yadav leading to guesswork about their political future. Akhilesh Yadav had described that as a courtesy call.

The meeting created a buzz that Lalji Verma and Ram Achal Rajbhar may contest the assembly polls on a SP ticket.

Lalji Verma was the BSP Legislature Party leader and Ram Achal Rajbhar was the former president of the party’s Uttar Pradesh unit. They were expelled by Mayawati on June 3 on charges of anti-party activities during the panchayat elections.

Both the Samajwadi Party and the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party have already announced they will fight the Assembly election separately.

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