In a major political upset ahead of the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, BSP heavyweight and its backward castes face, Swami Prasad Maurya, quit the party, saying he felt “suffocated” in it. He also accused BSP chief Mayawati of auctioning party tickets for the polls.
Maurya, who also resigned as the BSP’s national general secretary, shot off a letter to Mayawati and later made it public. Unleashing a scathing attack in the letter, he accused the BSP chief of ignoring backward caste workers and turning money making into an “industrial institution” to fulfil her personal interests.
“I feel suffocated and cannot continue in the party any more…Tickets are being openly auctioned by Mayawati on a large scale. She is not making the right choice of candidates. Tickets are not only on sale in the party, they are being auctioned,” Maurya, who represents Padrauna Assembly constituency, said.
Maurya is also the Leader of Opposition in UP Assembly, and his exit from the party is a major setback to BSP’s poll preparations. Claiming that party founder Kanshi Ram gave equal regard to Dalits and backward castes, Maurya said: “But after the death of Kanshi Ram, BSP has become a party of one particular caste….This thinking of yours is taking the party towards its fall.”
He added that while Kanshi Ram created the slogan ‘jiski jitni sankhaya bhari, uski utni bhagidari’, Mayawati changed it to ‘jiski jitni thaili bhari, uski utni bhagidari’.
He alleged that while the BSP chief wanted OBC and Dalit votes, she did not want to give them leadership positions.
Accusing Mayawati of cancelling the tickets of 130 candidates during the 2012 Assembly polls and thus leading to the party’s debacle, he said the candidates had been selected on the basis of their financial power.
About the forthcoming elections, he said: “It is unfortunate that again candidates have been selected on the basis of their financial powers.”
Maurya released a list of more than a dozen OBC leaders whose tickets, he said, had been cancelled recently. The list included names of his son Utkrisht Maurya and daughter Sanghmitra Maurya.
Referring to the list, he added: “It shows you are hand in glove with the BJP and you are trying to send these OBCs to the BJP to strengthen that party. People want a BSP-led government in the state, but your activities and behaviour are BJP supportive.”
He further alleged that Mayawati was denying him a ticket from his current constituency, Padrauna in eastern UP, because it was the area of influence of BJP leader Yogi Adityanath, who is a CM aspirant.
Answering a question at a press conference, he said that he would announce his next course of action soon after consulting his supporters. Maurya claimed that several party MLAs were with him. He said that he would re-assemble workers ignored who had been ignored in the BSP and also those who had been expelled.