- June 16, 2016
The BJP has appointed Keshav Prasad Maurya as the new party head in Uttar Pradesh, as the party prepares for state polls early next year. Though he keeps a low-profile and is not popular outside the Kausambhi-Allahabad-Varanasi belt, Mr. Maurya’s pro-Hindutva image and his RSS connections clinched the deal in his favour.
As the BJP attempts to come back to power in the Hindi heartland here are ten things about the new state president.
- Born in 1969, in Sirathu in Kausambhi district, adjoining Allahabad, Mr. Maurya went on to study Hindi Literature at the Hindu Sahitya Sammelan in Allahabad.
- Hailing from a humble farming family, Mr. Maurya sold tea in his father’s stall and newspapers during his childhood, very similar to our PM.
- He has been associated with the RSS and the VHP-Bajrang Dal from an early age, holding the posts of Nagar Karyawah and VHP Pranth Sanghathan Mantri, among others.
- He has been actively associated with cow protection – Gauraksha and Ram Janamabhoomi movement.
- In the BJP, Mr. Maurya has been the regional (Kashi) coordinator of the backward class cell.
- In the BJP Kisan Morcha. Mr Maurya was a full-time pracharak or worker of the right-wing Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
- Maurya belongs to the Kushwaha community (an OBC). The community has a sizeable presence in Uttar Pradesh at around 7% and the BJP’s selection of a Maurya is also in line with its strategy to build its resource among the so-called intermediate OBCs and MBCs, which bear no loyalty to any of the top parties.
- It was a first win for the saffron party from Phulpur (once held by Jawaharlal Nehru), when Maurya emerged victorious on the Lok Sabha seat.
- For years he has held charge of the Kanshi region which includes Varanasi, the PM’s constituency.
- Maurya represents Phoolpur constituency in the Lok Sabha from the Allahabad region.
However, his promotion also comes with a liability, as Mr. Maurya, currently a Lok Sabha MP from Phulpur, faces charges in as many as 10 criminal cases.
While he is the prime accused in a murder case, he is also booked for promoting enmity between groups, criminal intimidation, deliberate acts of hurting religious sentiment, criminal conspiracy and rioting. The BJP, however, downplayed Mr. Maurya’s criminal background saying the cases were “politically motivated” and lodged during his activism and participation in andolans and not after he became the MP.
Keshav Prasad Maurya’s nomination as the new BJP chief in Uttar Pradesh is expected to provide a fillip to the party’s hardline Hindutva agenda and boost outreach among the non-Yadav backward castes in the State, which goes to the polls in less than a year.