Designated as one of the two deputy chief ministers of the politically crucial Uttar Pradesh today, Keshav Prasad Maurya was highly applauded for working days and nights to galvanise the support for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the round level. Maurya has been made the face of OBC community by the saffron party. Representing Phulpur constituency in the Lok Sabha, Maurya, 47, has experienced a quick splurge in his political career in the party. In the run for UP’s chief ministerial face, Maurya was said to be one of the top contenders, after a landslide victory secured by the party in the Assembly elections. Known for his fiery speeches, he went to jail during Ayodhya and Gau Raksha (Save Cow) movements. Maurya was also elected to UP Assembly in 2012 from Sirathu seat in Allahabad. In 2014, he contested from Phulpur- best known for having been the constituency of first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
Being an integral part of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the VHP from an early age, Maurya’s life reflects a similar political inclination to that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Both, as young men from poor families, helped their fathers sell tea. After becoming the first time MLA in UP Assembly in 2012, he was made UP BJP chief in 2016 and had a role in the BJP securing three-fourth majority.
Maurya was born in a farmer’s home in Kaushambi district of UP and has underwent poverty throughout his childhood days. Like PM Modi, Maurya also worked at tea-stalls and sold newspapers to support his family and continue education. Maurya, too, takes pride in his childhood compulsion of serving tea to customers. He considers it as a common thread that binds him with the prime minister. The member’s page on the website of Lok Sabha says that Keshav Prasad Maurya ‘got inspiration for doing social service as well as education during childhood while selling tea.’ Coming from a minor community, Maurya joined Baal Swayam Sevak of RSS. Later, he teamed up with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal.
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During his 12-year association with the VHP and Bajrang Dal, Maurya was considered close to VHP patron Ashok Singhal. The BJP, over the past, had got considerable support from non-Yadav OBCs and non-Jatav Dalits in UP during the Lok Sabha elections. The voting pattern hinted the saffron party to replace the architect of UP miracle for BJP, Lakshmikant Vajpayee with Maurya, who belongs to an OBC sub-caste.
Maurya went about gathering support base among non-Yadav OBC caste categories. He appointed BJP leaders belonging to Kushwaha, Koeri, Kurmi, Shakya, Patel and others as district unit chiefs across Uttar Pradesh. Maurya is the only BJP leader after former UP chief minister and present Governor of Rajasthan Kalyan Singh who wields considerable support among OBCs and Dalits.
With inputs from agencies…