CM and RSS leaders called on OBC leader amid churn in BJP’s U.P. unit
Amid speculation of differences within the BJP in Uttar Pradesh over the question of leadership ahead of the 2022 Assembly polls, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday called upon his Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya over lunch.
Though Mr. Adityanath chose the occasion to offer ‘blessings’ to Mr. Maurya’s newly-wed son and daughter-in-law, his visit to his Deputy’s residence two blocks from his own on Kalidas Marg here was not bereft of political significance.
On Tuesday, Mr. Adityanath along with Deputy CM Dinesh Sharma and top RSS leaders Dattatreya Hosabale and Krishna Gopal, visited Mr. Maurya. Mr. Maurya later released pictures of the meetings on social media, with one where he was offering a saffron scarf to Mr. Adityanath.
Ever since the BJP stormed to power in U.P. in 2017, following which Mr. Adityanath was picked as CM by the central leadership, an uneasy relationship has existed between him and Mr. Maurya, who headed the State unit of the party earlier. Belonging to the OBC Kushwaha/ Maurya community, Mr. Maurya’s elevation was part of the BJP’s larger strategy to consolidate the non-Yadav OBC votes in the State and many of his supporters had expected he would sooner or later be projected as the CM face.
In recent times, both Mr. Maurya and another OBC leader, State labour minister, Swami Prasad Maurya have shown reluctance to directly name Mr. Adityanath as the face of the party ahead of 2022 polls.
Both leaders have said the Central leadership would decide on a face for CM if needed.
The show of unity within the BJP in U.P. comes days after Arvind Kumar Sharma, former bureaucrat who is now a BJP MLC in U.P., wrote to State president Swatantra Dev Singh affirming that though the party could win solely with the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it would enter the polls under the joint leadership of Mr. Modi and Mr. Adityanath.
Ever since his entry into politics, Mr. Sharma, who worked closely with Mr. Modi for two decades as a bureaucrat, has had to make do with a position in the State organization as one among the 17 vice-presidents even though speculation was rife that he would be accommodated with a top berth in the Yogi Adityanath cabinet.
BJP general secretary (organization) B.L. Santhosh and party’s U.P. in-charge Radha Mohan Singh, who are in Lucknow again, also held meetings with party state general secretaries, regional heads and senior leaders.
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