The 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly election will not be a contest between the 20% vs the 80% but between the 15% and the 85%, rebel OBC leader Swami Prasad Maurya said on Friday, January 14, 2022, pitting social justice bahujan politics head-on against the Hindutva mobilization of the BJP.
Days after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath stated that the election would be a battle between the 20 and 80 , an indirect reference to the communal composition of Muslims and Hindus in the State, Mr. Maurya resorted to the antidote of mobilization of the Dalits, tribals and backward castes against the ‘upper castes.’
Delivering an impassioned speech upon joining the BJP’s main rival, the Samajwadi Party, at its party headquarters here Mr. Maurya targeted the alleged appeasement of the ‘upper castes’ in particular the Thakur caste which Mr. Adityanath himself was born into under the BJP government.
" Sarkar banave Dalit aur Pichde, aur malai khave who log agde paanch % log (The Dalits and Backward castes formed your government but the 5% forward caste people will get the cream of the power?), Mr. Maurya asked. He quit the Yogi Adityanath cabinet on Tuesday accusing the government of neglecting Dalits and OBCs.
Mr. Maurya, who joined the BJP in 2016 after 20 years in the BSP, where he enjoyed stints in power, said the BJP had pulled wool over the eyes of Dalits, OBCs and minorities and snatched power in 2017. He further said that in the last election, the BJP came to power on the strength of the backward castes. “They spread this perception that either Keshav Prasad Maurya (BJP leader and deputy CM) or Swami Prasad Maurya would be CM,” Mr. Maurya said.
Challenging the BJP’s “Hindu card,” Mr. Maurya thundered: “ 80-20 nahi, ab toh hoga 15-85 ka. 85 toh hamara hain, 15 mein bhi batwara hain (Not 80 vs 20, now it is between 15 and 85. All of 85 is ours and even in the remaining 15 we have a share).” The 85 refers to the mobilization of the Dalits, tribals and OBCs, while the 15 is used to denote the strength in the population of the traditional upper castes like Brahmins, Thakurs, Vaishyas and Kayasthas.
Further targeting the Yogi government, Mr. Maurya asked the CM if he was a “sympathiser” of the Hindus, then why did the government “commit the sin of swallowing the reservation given to the Dalits, tribals and backward caste people by the constitution like a python?”
“Yogji, aren’t the tribals, Dalits and backward caste people Hindus,” Mr. Maurya asked. “Are only some badi jaat (upper caste) people Hindus in your eyes? If only those 5-10% people are Hindus, then you are definitely in trouble,” Mr. Maurya said.