Having links with RSS and Vishwa Hindu Parishad, BJP state president and Phulpur MP Keshav Prasad Maurya (48), first came to limelight in April, last year, when he was announced as BJP’s surprise pick for the post of Uttar Pradesh party president. With Maurya (48) belonging of the backward Kushwaha caste, he was projected as the party’s OBC face, as it tried to develop a base among the non-Yadav OBCs.
He was first elected as a member of UP Assembly from Sirathu in Kaushambi district in 2012 polls, following a few unsuccessful attempts. In 2014 Lok Sabha polls, he won from Phulpur in Allahabad.
Maurya, who comes from a humble background, is said to have sold tea and newspapers when he was a child. He went on to get the degree of Sahitya Ratna from Hindi Sahitya Sammelan in Allahabad.
He also faces several criminal cases in Kaushambi and Allahabad districts. In his 2014 election affidavit, he had declared 10 criminal cases pending against him, including one related to murder. He was, however, acquitted in the case later, as the witnesses turned hostile. Further, he has been booked for rioting, promoting enmity between groups, criminal intimidation, deliberate acts of hurting religious sentiment and criminal conspiracy. Maurya had claimed these cases were lodged for “political reasons” by his opponents.
With BJP registering a landslide victory in the 2017 state polls on the basis of overwhelming support from the backward castes, Maurya was seen as a frontrunner for the post of the CM. By appointing him as the deputy CM, BJP has tried to send the message that it has not given up on its OBC leaders, as elections are now over.
“After he became the state president, OBCs came together to support BJP. Earlier, while Kushwahas used to vote for BSP, Kurmis voted for other parties and members of other castes supported other parties. Maurya becoming the state president helped in consolidating OBC support for BJP. He is also one of the hardest working state presidents. He has visited most areas in UP more than once. He is someone who maintains personal touch with low-level party workers,” said Sheetla Prasad Patel, the MLA from Sirathu — the seat earlier represented by Maurya.