Will Keshav Prasad Maurya Be The Next President Of UP BJP, Or Is He Merely Staking His Claim?

by Swarajya Staff - Aug 22, 2022 03:24 PM +05:30 IST
Will Keshav Prasad Maurya Be The Next President Of UP BJP, Or Is He Merely Staking His Claim? UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya.
Snapshot
  • Maurya was previously the president of UP BJP during the 2017 assembly elections when the BJP-led alliance registered a historic victory by winning 325 of the 403 seats.

"Sangathan sarkaar se bada hai, (Organisation is bigger than the government)", tweeted Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya yesterday (21 August), and set off speculations regarding the vacant slot of the president of the Uttar Pradesh unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The Uttar Pradesh unit of the party has not been able to announce its new president for nearly three weeks, since former president Swatantra Dev Singh resigned on completion of his tenure.

Now, with Maurya's tweet, it is being speculated that either his name has been finalised for the post or that he is actively interested in the job.

Maurya was previously the president of UP BJP during the 2017 assembly elections when the BJP-led alliance registered a historic victory by winning 325 of the 403 seats.

Prior to that, Maurya was the Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) from the Phulpur constituency of eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Will Maurya Let Go Of The Deputy Chief-Ministership?

If Maurya is indeed anointed as the president of the state unit, it is likely that he would be asked to resign as the Deputy Chief Minister.

Maurya has been the Deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, and number two in the government, since 2017.

In 2017, there were multiple reports which claimed that post the BJP's victory in the assembly polls, Maurya was prominently putting his name forward for the post of the chief minister, given that he was the party president at a time of a successful campaign.

Maurya's candidature also could not be ignored totally since the BJP's victory in 2017 — like in 2014, 2019, and 2022 — came on the back of support from the non-Yadav OBC (Other Backward Class) communities of the state.

Eventually, Maurya was made the Deputy Chief Minister and second-in-command to Yogi Adityanath.

The importance of Maurya in the eyes of the top BJP leadership can be gauged from the fact that even after losing the assembly election from Sirathu in 2022, he was retained as the Deputy Chief Minister.

The Maurya-Yogi Relationship

Some political observers are of the view that Maurya may want to exit the UP government and lead the party organisation since that would place him at the top of the party hierarchy in the state, unlike now, when Yogi Adityanath is placed above him in government.

Ever since 2017, there have been reports which suggested that relations between Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his deputy weren't exactly smooth.

When Adityanath visited the house of Keshav Prasad Maurya on 22 June 2021, it was news because it was only the first time in four years that the UP CM had done that. Maurya's official residence is only a plot away from that of Adityanath's.

At that time, political circles in UP were abuzz with the reports that Maurya had proposed an “Assam model” poll campaign in Uttar Pradesh for the 2022 polls — where there is no projected CM face in the campaign.

An 'Out Of Turn' OBC President?

Since 2014, the UP BJP has been contesting the Lok Sabha elections under a Brahmin state chief and the Vidhan Sabha elections under an OBC as the state president.

Laxmikant Vajpeyi was the state BJP president in 2014 (NDA 73/80); Keshav Prasad Maurya was the president in 2017 (NDA 325/403); Mahendra Nath Pandey was the president in 2019 (NDA 64/80); and Swatantra Dev Singh was the president in 2022 (NDA 273/403).

By the above pattern, it is the turn of a Brahmin leader to be given the responsibility of the state BJP chief. However, if reports are to be believed, Keshav Prasad Maurya's name is under active consideration, and it may well be him who takes over from Swatantra Dev Singh.

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