UP Assembly Election 2017: Will Keshav Prasad Maurya prove to be BJP's dark horse?

This post was originally written for Firstpost Hindi, read the article here

Mere weeks before the election in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP has re-ignited the combustible issue that was the Kairana exodus. In June 2016, BJP MP Hukum Singh released a list of Hindu families and alleged that there had been a mass exodus of Hindus from his constituency due to the crumbling law and order situation. In an exclusive conversation with Firstpost, Keshav Prasad Maurya, BJP’s president in UP, said that after the party comes to power, a task force will be formed and migration from not just Kairana but also from other regions will be inquired into. Apart from this, inquiries will be ordered against those who are found guilty. “Those who were forced to leave their hometowns because their lives or businesses were at risk will be sent home safely and dignifiedly,” he noted.

In fact, it is to this accord that the BJP is being accused of practicing politics of polarisation in Western UP.

File photo of Keshav Prasad Maurya. Image courtesy: CNN-News18

File photo of Keshav Prasad Maurya. Image courtesy: CNN-News18

However, in our conversation with Maurya, he boldly and bluntly blamed Azam Khan, a senior minister in the Samajwadi Party, for the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots. “There is violence in Western UP and people are leaving their homes in fear. If a senior leader of the SP is behind the violence and no action is taken against him, then there will be anger in the hearts of people. In such a scenario, not only Hindus but good Muslims will stand with our party and our point of view,” he added.

The BJP has pledged to shut down slaughter houses in the area. Before one fishes out a communal flavour in this agenda, Maurya explains, “We are here for the upliftment of the poor. If milk-yielding domestic animals are killed, then a constant source of income is also killed. If the SP-BSP think the shutting down of slaughter houses will negatively impact their vote bank, then that is their approach. We (the BJP) have no problem in going ahead with this plan,” he asserted.

Will order inquiry into SP-BSP’s corrupt ways

In its poll agenda, the BJP has given top priority to law and order. Quite specifically, the party is committing itself to investigating the instances where the SP-BSP has compromised on maintaining peace and stability in the state in the last 15 years. Maurya has clearly stated that a task force will be established to inquire into unsettled matters. “How can there be progress in a place where this is no peace?” asks Maurya, who feels that a Congress alliance won’t make a difference to SP’s chances of winning. He is confident that under any circumstance, the BJP will win 300 seats and come to power in UP. When asked about BJP’s senior leader Vinay Katiyar’s controversial remark about Priyanka Gandhi’s ‘looks’ as she entered the political battlefield, Maurya advised that leaders should refrain from making such statements.

Is Maurya BJP’s Dark Horse?

An MP from Phulpur, Allahabad and the party president in the state, Maurya is at the centre of the BJP’s struggle for the precious throne of UP. After Kalyan Singh, the BJP was searching for a candidate who hails from a lower caste (non-Yadav OBC) and Maurya has assumed that role. Should the BJP emerge victorious, one would be able to safely assume that Maurya was the party’s ‘dark horse’ all along.

Updated Date: Feb 03, 2017 21:53 PM

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