In a dramatic turn of events, Sanghamitra Maurya, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Budaun, came out in the support of her father Swami Prasad Maurya on Tuesday, the last day of canvassing for the sixth phase of Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh.
Ms. Maurya accused BJP workers of heckling her and appealed to women to vote for her father, who is contesting from the Fazilnagar seat of Kushinagar. “Main Fazilnagar ki behen-betiyon se kehti hoon, ab ki baar Swami ka saath,” she said.
Ms. Maurya addressed the media after a fracas took place allegedly between BJP and Samajwadi Party (SP) workers in the Gorardia area of Fazilnagar.
She alleged that stones were pelted, and the glasses of vehicles in Mr. Maurya’s convoy were smashed.
“It is not just my father’s claim, it could be clearly seen how people have been hurt.” She said when she heard the news she rushed from Kushinagar. “But I was heckled by BJP workers and abuses were hurled at me.” Today, she said, the henchmen of the candidate of BJP, the party that talks about peace and a riot-free State, launched an attack on my father. “The public of Fazilnagar will teach these lumpen elements a lesson on March 3.”
Later, Ms. Maurya repeated the sequence of events in a Facebook Live and appealed to the top leadership of the BJP to take action. “For some time, a whispering campaign is being run some elements in the party that I am secretly canvassing for my father. I have repeatedly denied it and have asked them to provide video evidence.”
Mr. Maurya, a Minister in the BJP Government, switched to the SP just before the polls. He escaped unhurt but returned to the spot and sat in a dharna. BJP supporters also jammed a nearby road.
The Fazilnagar seat has become a prestige battle for both parties. Observers say a win will not be a cakewalk for Mr. Maurya, who shifted out of his traditional bastion of Padrauna in the last minute. The prominent non-Yadav Other Backward Class (OBC) face of the SP is up against Surendra Singh Kushwaha, son of incumbent BJP MLA Ganga Singh Kushwaha, who also represents the non-Yadav OBCs in the region. Meanwhile, after the SP denied the ticket to its local face Ilyas Ansari, he shifted to the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), turning Fazilnagar into a tough triangular contest.
SP president Akhilesh Yadav condemned the attack on Mr. Muarya. In a tweet, he said, “It should be considered an attack on every leader of the SP alliance. All should combine to reduce the BJP to a zero in the next two rounds.”
SP spokesperson Abdul Hafeez Gandhi refused to comment on the statement by Ms. Maurya but condemned the attack on Mr. Maurya.
Ms. Maurya could not be reached but her brother Utkritsht Maurya said the family was assessing the situation.
After her father’s move, Ms. Maurya decided to stay with the BJP. She has said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had adopted her, and reasoned that she could keep politics and family separate.