In what could be seen as a growing stature of Keshav Prasad Maurya, the BJP has retained him as deputy chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, despite losing the poll from Sirathu assembly constituency. The party high command has sent a clear message that Maurya, a backward class leader, will continue to lead from the front particularly in view of the next Lok Sabha polls.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have once again given a clear indication that they see Maurya as the voice of the backwards in the Hindi heartland.
In the oath-taking ceremony held on Friday, around 24 ministers of the previous Yogi Adityanath government were not able to find a place in the state Cabinet this time.
Though Dinesh Sharma, who served as deputy Chief Minister in the Yogi Adityanath government, was dropped, Maurya was retained on the same post.
The political journey of Maurya — a confidant of Ashok Singhal, a man who engineered Ram Janmabhoomi movement — also began from Sirathu when he first became a legislator in 2012.
In 2014, he won Phoolpur Lok Sabha seat and became a Member of Parliament.
In 2016, the Modi-Shah combine made Maurya Uttar Pradesh BJP president.
As party’s state president, Maurya played a significant role in winning the Assembly elections in 2017.
In the 2017 Assembly polls, the BJP-led alliance won 325 seats and Yogi Adityanath was made Chief Minister and Keshav Prasad Maurya the Deputy Chief Minister.
Since then, the relations between Adityanath and Maurya soured over several issues in state politics. When Maurya lost the polls, speculation was rife that he may not find a place in the state cabinet this time, but by making Maurya the deputy chief minister, the BJP high command has proved that it is confident about the leader’s capability and popularity.