Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya (Image: PTI)
Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya on Saturday dubbed the victory of Samajwadi Party candidate in the Ghosi assembly by-election as an "accident" and asserted that the BJP will win all 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state in the 2024 general elections.
The senior BJP leader also asserted that the OBCs are with the BJP and recalled that in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, when the SP, BSP, Congress and others "had contested together", his party received "51 per cent votes" in Uttar Pradesh.
In an exclusive interview to PTI Video, Maurya also felt that Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party leader Om Prakash Rajbhar should not have said that he and Dara Singh Chauhan, who recently returned to the BJP, would join the Yogi Adityanath government.
He said anything on Cabinet expansion in the state should come from the chief minister only.
Downplaying the BJP's defeat in Ghosi, where the SP was supported by the other INDIA opposition bloc parties, he said the by-election result was "an accident" and the party will learn from it to ensure that in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls the BJP's Lotus symbol blooms.
Chauhan, who left the BJP in January last year, had won the Ghosi assembly poll on a Samajwadi Party ticket but switched to the BJP again and was fielded by the ruling party in the recent by-election.
He was defeated by SP's Sudhakar Singh by a margin of over 40,000 votes.
Responding to a question on SP, Maurya claimed the opposition party was fast becoming "samaptwadi" (reaching its end) party.
Attacking the INDIA bloc, he said the opposition alliance does not have any issue and is leaderless.
"Their agenda is to divide the society. They will not succeed," he said.
Maurya said in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, when the SP, BSP, Congress and others "had contested together", his party had won comprehensively. The BJP had 64 members in the Lok Sabha from UP and after the Azamgarh and Rampur LS bypolls, its MPs from the state have gone up to 66.
He said when the SP was in government in the state, the BJP, along with allies, had won 73 seats and lost four by a very small margin.
Maurya asserted that Uttar Pradesh will contribute to making Narendra Modi the prime minister for the third time with BJP winning all 80 seats in the state.
He said the philosophy of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Prayas,' as well as the development achieved by the "double engine" government will help the BJP sweep polls.
Responding to a question, he said the Uttar Pradesh government acts against criminals and mafia without any Hindu-Muslim bias.
It was the opposition, he alleged, which was raising only Muslim-related issues.
He said, "Action in the state is not taken on the basis of religion. Action is based on who has encroached upon the land of the poor." "It is our responsibility as the government to get it vacated," he said, adding the guilty are not protected under the Yogi Adityanath government.
To another question on people belonging to the caste of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath having influence, Maurya said the CM "is a saint and a saint has no caste".
Asked if the Ghosi result shows that the Other Backward Classes (OBC) voters have deserted the BJP, Maurya responded, "OBC were with BJP and will remain with BJP." Out of 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, more than 25 regions are represented by MPs from backward classes. OBC leaders claim that the population of OBCs in the state is up to 56 per cent.
OBCs include Yadav, Kurmi, Shakya, Saini, Rajbhar, and Chauhan, among other communities.
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