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Is campaign about OBC exodus from the BJP in Uttar Pradesh a canard ?

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Swami Prasad Maurya (left) with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav.(ANI)

By B.Sanjay

As the exodus of OBC leaders from BJP continues unabated (three ministers and six MLAs quitting so far)  sources indicated that the reasons were personal rather than the welfare of the backwards.

Sources revealed that former minister, S.P. Maurya quit the party as it refused his son Utkrisht a party nomination from the Uchahar Assembly constituency in the state. It was learnt that both Maurya and his son were given tickets by the BJP in 2017. While the father won, the son lost from Uchahar. This time again, Maurya demanded a ticket for his son from Uchahar, which was promptly refused.

The BJP also argued that since his daughter has already been accommodated as an MP, it would not be "proper" to give tickets to his entire family.  "It was a father's love for son, which forced him to leave the BJP. He has become Dhritarashtra, " a senior BJP functionary said. However, Utkrisht has denied that his father ever asked for a ticket for him.

It was further learnt that the former minister, Dara Singh Chauhan quit the party as the BJP refused to renominate him from his turf-Madhuban assembly constituency. Reports from the constituency apparently indicated that he could "lose" and was offered another berth. Chauhan refused and quit. It was claimed that other OBC legislators and leaders including Mukesh Verma, Vinay Shakya, Bala Awasthi left BJP following apprehensions that they "might not be renominated." As for Apna Dal MLA, Dharam Singh Saini it was alleged that his party refused to renominate him.  And BJP was in no mood to cross swords with Apna Dal.

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A senior BJP functionary pointed out that political defections before elections are a "normal phenomenon." Besides high profile Congress Leader, Jiten Prasada, two OBC MLAs, Naresh Saini from Congress and Hari Om Yadav from Samajwadi Party and a former SP MLA, Dharmpal Singh joined the BJP. "Therefore the perception that OBCs are quitting BJP is not correct," the functionary said.

Senior UP Minister, Siddharth Nath Singh while refuting charges that the Yogi government "neglected" the backwards and OBCs started rolling out various welfare schemes executed by the state administration. He claimed that while nearly 45 lakh houses were offered under the PM Awas Yojna, the state government also provided nearly 2.6 crore toilets. He claimed that there had been at least 1.7 crore connections under the Ujjawala Gas scheme and about Rs, 1500 crore were disbursed to "Kaamgars" during Covid waves.

"These were incidentally done by the ministry of SP Maurya. So what actually is he talking about. These benefits did not go to any Shehezada but the backwards and needy," Singh pointed out. He further added that nearly 1.5 crore jobs were provided under MGNREGA by the state government. The minister further maintained that farmers loan of nearly 36,000 crores was waived off by the Yogi government after it took over the state.Mr Singh seemed confident that the BJP would "comfortably touch 300 seats."

The BJP leaders claimed that despite the perception which the Opposition was trying to create, the non-Yadav OBCs had never gone with the Samajwadi Party. The BJP leaders said that whenever SP came to power it only benefitted the Muslims and Yadavs-the party's MY combination. It was argued that this was the reason, the SP since the days of Mulayam Singh Yadav had been trying to "look towards" the Upper caste, particularly Brahmins.