Swami Prasad Maurya resigns from Yogi Adityanath Cabinet, joins SP


Soon after Swami Prasad Maurya submitted his resignation letter to Governor Anandiben Patel, he was welcomed into the Samajwadi Party by party president Akhilesh Yadav

Senior OBC leader and Cabinet Minister in Uttar Pradesh, Swami Prasad Maurya resigned from his ministerial post on Tuesday stating that Dalits, OBCs, farmers and the youth were being neglected by the Yogi Adityanath Government despite him carrying out his duties with diligence.

Soon after Mr. Maurya submitted his resignation letter to Governor Anandiben Patel, he was welcomed into the Samajwadi Party by party president Akhilesh Yadav.

The five-time MLA and sitting legislator from Padrauna in Kushinagar in Purvanchal held the Labour, Employment and Coordination portfolio in the Yogi Adityanath Cabinet.

Mr. Maurya’s departure comes as big loss to the BJP’s OBC gameplan in east and central U.P. ahead of the 2022 Assembly election as Mr. Maurya, who spent most of his life in the BSP, is considered a popular face among the most-backward castes especially the Maurya and Kushwaha communities he leads.

His daughter Sanghamitra Maurya is a BJP Lok Sabha MP from Budaun, having defeated the joint SP-BSP candidate Dharmendra Yadav in 2019.

In his short resignation letter, Mr. Maurya, who comes from the Kanshiram stock of Bahujan politics and his known for his sharp rhetoric, said he worked diligently in the government despite “adverse circumstances” and an ideology different from the BJP’s. 

His entry comes as further boost to the SP, which has already stitched key allies with parties backed by the Maurya, Noniya Chauhan, Kurmi and Rajbhar castes in east U.P. as it attempts to build better acceptability among the numerically crucial and dominant OBCs whom the BJP has been aggressively wooing and grooming with welfare schemes, Hindutva and representation.  

Mr. Yadav met Mr. Maurya soon after his resignation and said he was welcoming a leader who fights for “social justice and equality.” “Samajik nyay ka inquilab hoga, bais mein badlav hoga [There will be a revolution of social justice, there will be a change in 2022],” Mr. Yadav tweeted. 

Mr. Maurya, who started his political career with the Yuva Lok Dal in Prayagraj, then Allahabad, in 1980 had enjoyed a stint as the state general secretary of the Janta Dal from 1991 to 1995 before he was appointed the BSP state general secretary in 1996. He has been a minister in the governments led by BSP chief Mayawati. However, in 2016, following differences with Ms. Mayawati on the issue of ticket distribution and her style of functioning, Mr. Maurya quit the BSP. Publicly, he accused Ms. Mayawati of auctioning tickets. He joined the BJP, which was by then in pole position to take advantage of the anti-incumbency against the Akhilesh Yadav Government among the OBCs. 

He was among those BJP leaders who had openly refused to name Mr. Adityanath as the face of the 2022 campaign.

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