Setback for Mayawati, Maurya joins BJP

PTI8_8_2016_000122B BJP President Amit Shah greets Swami Prasad Maurya | PTI

Rubbing more salt into BSP chief Mayawati's wounds, former rebel leader Swami Prasad Maurya joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday. Maurya joined the BJP in Delhi in the presence of party national president Amit Shah, UP state head Keshav Prasad Maurya and other important BJP leaders.

For the past few days speculations had been rife that Maurya might join the saffron party after he went to Delhi and met a couple of prominent BJP leaders a few days ago.

The crucial political move by Maurya, who had been associated with the BSP for two decades, is likely to dent the party's vote bank.

On joining the BJP, Maurya said, “BJP is a new home to me. There will be new things for me. I was in the BSP because it was formed by Kanshi Ram and he was influenced by Ambedkar's principles. But I left the party when I felt that Ambedkar’s mission was crumbling and the BSP had turned into a money-minting party rather than a political outfit."

Keshav Prasad Maurya said that Swami Prasad was being misused by his former party and now he would help BJP in dealing with the corrupt rule of the SP and the BSP in coming elections.

Maurya had openly revolted against Mayawati last month accusing her of selling poll-tickets to candidates and killing the principles of Ambedkar. His open accusations had hiked political temperature in the state prompting the BSP chief to expel him from the party.

However, his revolt had also forced Mayawati to change her election strategy for 2017. Soon after Maurya’s expulsion from the BSP, the SP had tried to woo him in to its fold.

Maurya had been a cabinet minister thrice in the BSP regime and had held many important posts in the party including that of president and general secretary.

After quitting the BSP, he had last month formed an outfit, Loktantrik Bahujan Manch and held a massive rally in Lucknow.

With Maurya joining the BJP, around nine per cent of the vote share comprising members of his community may turn against Mayawati and it could work in the BJP's favour.

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