In 2014, Modi wave did an unthinkable for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh by winning 73 of 80 Lok Sabha seats for the alliance. Less than three years later, it was a repeat in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election.
Keshav Prasad Maurya, the UP BJP president, is said to be the real man behind the party winning over 80 per cent of seats in state Assembly.
A TEA SELLER-TURNED POLITICIAN
Born in a farmer’s home in Kaushambi district of Uttar Pradesh, Keshav Prasad Maurya spent his childhood in poverty.
Like PM Modi, Maurya also worked at tea-stalls and sold newspapers to support his family and continue education. Having sold tea in a remote town or village is no longer considered a negative trait for a politician thanks to Modi’s grand success in election after election in Gujarat and at the national level in 2014.
Maurya, too, takes pride in his childhood compulsion of serving tea to customers in Uttar Pradesh. He considers it as a common thread that binds him with the Prime Minister.
The member’s page on the website of Lok Sabha says that Keshav Prasad Maurya “got inspiration for doing social service as well as education during childhood while selling tea.”
POLITICAL JOURNEY OF MAURYA
As a minor, Keshav Prasad Maurya joined Baal Swayam Sevak of Rashtriya Swayam Sevek Sangh. Later, he was associated with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal.
During his 12-year association with the VHP and Bajrang Dal, Keshav Prasad Maurya was considered close to VHP patron Ashok Singhal.
Known for his fiery speeches, Keshav Prasad went to jail during Ayodhya and Gau Raksha (Save Cow) movements.
Keshav Prasad Maurya was elected to Uttar Pradesh Assembly in 2012 from Sirathu seat in Allahabad. In 2014, he contested from Phulpur- best known for having been the constituency of first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru.
In April 2016, Keshav Prasad Maurya was made the Uttar Pradesh BJP president and given the responsibility to ensure victory for the party in Assembly election 2017.
HOW KESHAV PRASAD MAURYA DELIVERED IT
The BJP had got considerable support from non-Yadav OBCs and non-Jatav Dalits in Uttar Pradesh during the Lok Sabha elections.
Keshav Prasad Maurya went about consolidating the support base among non-Yadav OBC caste categories. He appointed BJP leaders belonging to Kushwaha, Koeri, Kurmi, Shakya, Patel and others as district unit chiefs across Uttar Pradesh.
NOW, HE IS RICH AND HAS CASES AGAINST HIM
Keshav Prasad Maurya might have sold tea as minor but today he has assets worth crores of rupees in his and his wife’s name.
Keshav Prasad Maurya owns a petrol pump, a hospital, agro-trading company and Kamdhenu Logistics. He has assets spread across Allahabad. He also runs Kamdhenu Charitable Society.
According to some reports, as many 11 cases, including one related murder of a farmer in 2011, were lodged against Keshav Prasad Maurya.
But, Keshav Prasad Maurya is the only BJP leader after former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and present Governor of Rajasthan Kalyan Singh who wields considerable support among OBCs and Dalits.