Amidst the debate among other parties to woo upper castes in Uttar Pradesh, the appointment of 47-year-old Keshav Prasad Maurya, an OBC from Kushwaha community, replacing a Brahmin
Laxmikant Vajpayee, as the state president appears to be a strategic move of the BJP, eyeing the epoch-making era of the then chief minister Kalyan Singh. Maurya’s appointment is also expected to avoid the perpetual Thakur-Brahmin rivalry, a typical characteristic of UP politics, and to
give a message to the ground level cadres, who have been miffed at the eternal tug-of-war and one-upmanship among ‘equals’ in the hierarchy, that for an ordinary worker in the party there is always an opportunity to reach the apex.
Recently at his MP’s residence in Delhi, the new UP BJP chief Maurya talked with www.goindianews.com on his mammoth responsibility and the ‘Mission 265’ to catapult the party in the centre stage in 2017 assembly elections.
Pressure of responsibility
With a youthful energy and his full-timer karyakarta background, a soft spoken Maurya, who puts a tilak at his forehead, appears very amiable but determined in his mission. When asked about the crucial responsibility of the largest state of the north India, he exuded confidence that
he would achieve the given task with the guidance of seniors and cooperation of the party workers.
And to fulfil the mission, the new state chief ‘s schedule is very hectic and the tiredness too appeared on his countenance, but he seems to be in a hurry to cover the entire length and breadth of the state to make the party workers ready for the battle royale in every nook and corner
of Uttar Pradesh.
On being novice for the task
The new BJP state chief is comparatively young with the responsibility but his pro-Hindutva image, association with the RSS and the VHP-Bajrang Dal from an early age and the experience of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement are an added advantage for him. Though he keeps a low-profile and is a
new face for outside the Kausambhi-Allahabad-Varanasi belt, Maurya is pretty conscious of the fact that a senior like Om Mathur is the state in-charge and the party’s national chief, Amit Shah, are constantly watching his moves, he expresses confidence that this an added advantage that he is
privileged to have and their guidance in making strategy rather makes the mission easy for him.
When asked about the perception of being ‘inexperience’, he smiles and hints at his journey in the party from grass-root level and adds that he is quite confident that he would retain his independent identity too with his dedication and hard work under the guidance of his seniors.
And it appears true also in the existing political scenario of the state, where his nomination has provided a new twist in the faction ridden party in the state. Coming from a Khushwaha caste, which roughly comprises 8% is concentrated mostly in east UP but in the west part of the state it also consists of Sakhyas and Sainis—thus found from Saharanpur to Chandauli, Maurya’s task also lies in wooing intermediate OBCs and MBCs to weaken the consolidated vote banks of the
Samajwadi Party’s Yadavs and the BSP’s Dalits.
Mission 265 for 2017
The first time MP from Phulpur Lok Sabha seat, Maurya, born in 1969 at Sirathu in Kausambhi district, adjoining Allahabad, has studied Hindi literature from the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, Allahabad. Coming from a humble farming family, Maurya has been assigned a mammoth mission to achieve the unthinkable but he is confident of accomplishing it.
He expressed that he is familiar with the different regions of the state and their distinct voting patterns, and also hints that the party has already chalked out its strategy, basing on the success of the Lok Sabha polls, wherein it won 73 seats.
The upcoming UP assembly polls is too crucial for the party, which has been out of power since 2002, as it could win only 47 of 403 assembly seats in 2012. Since 2002, the BJP’s seats have rapidly been decreasing in the state, from 88 in 2002 to 51 in 2007 and 47 in 2012.
Maurya, who is an aggressive campaigner, however, expresses confidence that he would achieve the ‘mission 265’ saying “our slogan and message to people is ‘Sabka saath, Sabka Vikas. Na goondagardi, Na bhrashtachaar; Hum denge achchi sarkar’ (No hooliganism, no corruption; we’ll provide a good government).”
(In conversation with Arun Chaubey and Satya Prakash Pandey)