Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 11
In a severe pre-election setback to the ruling BJP in Uttar Pradesh, state minister and senior leader Swami Prasad Maurya resigned from the cabinet and joined the Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party.
In a Twitter post, Maurya, a tall OBC leader representing the numerically dominant Kushwahas, Maurya said on Tuesday that he tried his best to work for the welfare of people in UP despite ideological differences with the BJP.
“But I am now resigning from the UP cabinet in the wake of severe discrimination and neglect of the poor, farmers, marginalised, unemployed in the state,” Maurya said in his resignation letter to Governor Anandi Ben Patel.
Maurya’s exit days ahead of seven-phase state election starting February 10 spell trouble for the BJP which seeks to appeal to all other backward classes.
For the SP on the other hand Maurya is a great catch as it would help bolster SP’s image as a party with space for all OBCs and not Yadavs alone.
Maurya’s entry will help SP reach out to Kushwahas, a dominant OBC caste in the state. SP does not have any tall Kushwaha leader in its fold.
In Etawah, Mainpuri, Kannauj, and Badaun Mauryas—prestige segments for SP—are second numerically only to Yadavs.
Maurya was earlier been the leader of opposition in the state assembly as a BSP MLA. He had quit for BJP ahead of the 2017 state polls after Mayawati declined to field three members of his family on polls—him, his son, and daughter.
Swami Prasad Maurya contested and won from Padrauna on a BJP ticket in 2017 and was rewarded with a cabinet berth.
He was the Minister of Labour, Employment, and Coordination in Uttar Pradesh.
“Saamajik nyay kaa inqalab hoga, baaes me badlav hoga (There will be a revolution in the field, or social justice and there will be change in UP),” said Akhilesh welcoming Maurya on Tuesday.
Maurya had quit the BSP in 2016 accusing Mayawati of betraying Dalits and auditioning party tickets.
Maurya in SP fits the party’s plan to expand its OBC base beyond Yadavs. Earlier, Beni Prasad Verma, a Kurmi leader, had joined the SP.
With its alliance also spanning the RLD, Aklihesh led SP is seeking to strengthen caste outreach ahead of a critical poll battle.
UP polls are critical for the ruling BJP, which is defending 325 seats in an assembly of 403.
SP had won 47 seats in 2017, BSP 19 and Congress 7.
SP has allied with RLD and smaller parties this time to challenge the incumbents.
दलितों, पिछड़ों, किसानों, बेरोजगार नौजवानों एवं छोटे-लघु एवं मध्यम श्रेणी के व्यापारियों की घोर उपेक्षात्मक रवैये के कारण उत्तर प्रदेश के योगी मंत्रिमंडल से इस्तीफा देता हूं। pic.twitter.com/ubw4oKMK7t— Swami Prasad Maurya (@SwamiPMaurya) January 11, 2022
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