Swami Stirs Up Hornets’ Nest

Arijit Bose

  • Swami Prasad Maurya, Dharam Singh Saini, former minister MLA Bhagwati Sagar, Vinay Shakya, Roshan Lal Verma, Dr. Mukesh Verma, Brijesh Kumar Prajapati, Chaudhary Amar Singh, former MLA from Apna Dal, Ali Yusuf, former minister, former MLA Neeraj, Balram Saini former MLA, Rajendra Singh Patel, Dhanpat Ram former minister, Padma Singh, Ayodhya Pal former MLA, Banshi Lal, Ram Avtar, RK Maurya etc. took membership of SP.
  • Maurya said the slogan of 80 and 20 will now be for 15 and 85.

Lucknow: Political grapevine is rife with talk about how this could be the Mother of all electoral battles in the Hindi heartland. Swami Prasad Maurya the man at the eye of the storm was at his fiercest best when he pompously suggested those who thought they were the Tope in real life will see a change in stature soon. Maurya a man known to be a shrewd politician has threatened of drilling the last nail in the BJP coffin.

Damage Control Mode On

As BJP goes the full hog to retain its hold over Uttar Pradesh, with Swami Prasad Maurya’s exit, a string of resignations in the BJP has virtually left the ruling party going into damage control mode.  A queue of leaders nearly eight in number have resigned from the Yogi government and BJP in a short span of 3 days. Most who have been quitting have been shifting allegiance to the SP. Maurya’s pictures with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav raised chatter about his joining SP. Swami Prasad Maurya, who was the Minister of Labor, Employment and Coordination in the Yogi government, was the first to resign. He wrote in his resignation sent to the governor, I have discharged my responsibility with great dedication even in adverse circumstances and ideology, but the utterly neglectful attitude of Dalits, backwards, farmers, unemployed youth and small and medium businessmen. Due to this, I resign from the Uttar Pradesh cabinet. The special thing is that the date on the resignation is not in print, but Maurya has written the date 11 January with his signature.

After this, the resignation of Forest Environment and Zoological Park Minister Dara Singh Chauhan started circulating on social media. Shikohabad MLA Dr. Mukesh Verma has also left BJP. In his resignation letter sent to the state and national president of BJP, he said, “During its five-year tenure, the leaders and public representatives of Dalit, backward and minority communities were not given any importance by the state government.”

MLA Vinay Shakya wrote in his resignation, during the tenure of five years, no attention was given to the leaders and public representatives of the Dalit, backward and minority communities. They were not given due respect.

Giving BJP a run for its Money

The Maurya ploy has been reminiscent of the late 1980s and early 1990s when Akhilesh Yadav’s father Mulayam Singh Yadav successfully stitched caste alliances to give the Bhartiya Janata Party a run for its money.

Swami Prasad Maurya’s switch to the Samajwadi Party can be seen as a big morale booster for Akhilesh Yadav and his party’s rank and file. The move is likely to have a ripple effect and bring in more OBC leaders into the SP fold ahead of the state Assembly election next month.

Swami Prasad Maurya had remained well-entrenched in the BJP for years after he marched out of his parent party, the BSP. He held a Cabinet rank with the charge of labour and employment.

Tale of the Two Mauryas

Maurya’s decision to walk away from the BJP is a big setback for the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP. Swami Prasad Maurya is believed to have a far bigger following within his community than UP Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya. In fact, Keshav Prasad Maurya too has in the past been unhappy with the BJP as he was denied the chief minister’s position in 2017.

Swami Prasad Maurya has stated openly that he did not get “due respect” in the ruling dispensation and he never got the position he deserved in the BJP.

A Record of Blame Game

Maurya had switched to the BJP from Bahujan Samaj Party months ahead of 2017 assembly elections accusing party chief Mayawati of corruption and “auctioning” seats.

Maurya is a five-time MLA who is known as an influential non-Yadav OBC leader from Uttar Pradesh. He has won last three assembly elections from Padrauna in the Kushinagar district of Uttar Pradesh. Maurya was known to be number 2 to Mayawati during his two decades in BSP. Maurya’s daughter, Sanghmitra Maurya, has been a BJP MP since 2019.

The Exodus Continues

Maurya is the most high-profile leader to leave the BJP ahead of the Uttar Pradesh polls beginning February 10. Soon after his resignation, three more BJP legislators — Roshan Lal Verma, Brijesh Prajapati and Bhagwati Sagar — quit the party.

For the SP, where Maurya is likely headed, the entry would strengthen the Opposition party and shed its image of being a party of Yadavs and Muslims.

Track Record

Riding on the ‘Modi wave’, the BJP won more than 300 seats out of 403 in its account in 2017. On the other hand, the BSP fell from 80 in 2012 to 19 in 2017. During the last few years, the Most Backward Classes have become the pivot of the politics.  Even within the BJP, if anyone is seen challenging the leadership of Yogi, then it is Keshav Prasad Maurya, who comes from the Most Backward Classes.

 

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