10 pointers to the importance of Swami Prasad Maurya and why he is a big catch for SP in UP
Swami Prasad Maurya, who quit BJP earlier this week, formally joined the Samajwadi Party on Friday. A popular OBC leader he can influence electoral outcome in several constituencies of eastern UP
BJP sources claim Swami Prasad Maurya quit BJP because the party was not ready to field his son from a constituency of his choice. He on the other hand claims he quit because the BJP government of Yogi Adityanath systematically discriminated against OBCs. But whatever be the reason, there is little doubt that his exit has given a jolt to the BJP.
The five-time MLA, a cabinet minister thrice under Mayawati and the last five years in the government headed by Adityanath, a former leader of the opposition, he is known to have been a 'good' minister. Bureaurats speak well of him and point to his grasp of administrative matters.
Others say that unlike several BJP ministers, he was not aloof and regularly met people. On his visit to district headquarters, officials recalled, he would attend meetings with officials during the day but invariably spend the evenings with hundreds of people, many of them from his caste group. This strong connect with the ground, they feel, might have alerted him to the popular mood shifting away from the BJP.
Here are 10 facets of the man and the politician:
1. He belongs to Rae Bareli but his area of influence spreads across a dozen districts in eastern UP.
2. He started his political career with the RLD member but later joined BSP and rose quickly in the party hierarchy.
3. He was minister in all the three governments headed by BSP chief Mayawati
4. When Akhilesh Yadav became the Chief Minister in 2012, Maurya became the leader of the opposition in the Assembly.
5. In 2016 he joined BJP. It is widely believed that Amit Shah personally picked him and used him to expand the Backward base of the BJP.
6. As Labour minister in the Yogi government he remained in the background. During the pandemic, when migrant labourers were returning home and the government formulated rehabilitation schemes for them, Maurya was not to be seen anywhere. The chief minister sidelined Maurya and himself supervised the entire operation.
7. As labour minister Maurya was only seen distributing cycles and organising wedding of young women from deprived sections of society.
8. He was made in-charge of Siddharthnagar and during his monthly meetings he used to hold meeting with his castemen. Officials say they would be asked to arrange dinner for 500-600 people at government expense on such occasions. This is how he consolidated his base, they said.
9. His daughter is the BJP MP from Badaun. But his son lost the election in 2017 from Uchchahar constituency.
10. Officials say he had a good grasp of administrative matters and was polite with bureaucrats.