As Keshav Prasad Maurya took oath as deputy chief minister, the happiness on the faces of his parents Shyam Lal Maurya and Dhanpati Devi was unmistakable.
Uncomfortable amid the large crowd at Smriti Upvan in Lucknow, the couple leaned forward and smiled as their son was sworn in by governor Ram Naik. Their eyes suddenly went moist.
It was indeed a moment of pride for Shyam Lal, a former small farmer of Sirathu, and Dhanpati Devi who had borne immense hardship in their early years.
Shyam Lal found it difficult to sustain his family, including five children, by farming on a small piece of land in his ancestral village of Kasiya. He opened a tea stall in front of a local intermediate college in the rural region of Sirathu in Kaushambi, a district adjoining Allahabad.
His two sons, the eldest Sukhlal and Keshav, six years younger and still in his early teens, helped out by offering tea and chipping in with other mundane tasks.
Keshav, always outgoing and bold, started working as newspaper hawker to help his family. The task led him to the company of some Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) volunteers, ultimately enabling him to meet his mentor and VHP chief the late Ashok Singhal.
“I am very happy and so is Keshav’s mother. He has been entrusted a vital task by PM Narendra Modi and I am sure he will excel as he has always done,” Shyam Lal, nearing 80, said at his ancestral home in Sirathi, just hours before leaving for Lucknow to attend the swearing-in ceremony.
Shyam Lal’s message for his deputy CM son: “Always remember your days of hardship and work for betterment of the poor who are still struggling for survival as we did.”
He was confident that Keshav will ensure development of whole of UP with a focus on underdeveloped Kaushmabi as well as his present hometown of Allahabad.
Dhanpati Devi said: “My blessings are always with Keshav. I would like him to dedicatedly work for the poor and the weak.”
Dhanpati said she never thought her son would one day rise to such political heights, not even after he was elected MLA from Sirathu in 2012 and later became an MP from Phulpur in 2014.
The Maurya clan at the swearing-in ceremony included not just Shyam Lal and Dhanpati Devi. Keshav’s wife Rajkumari and two sons were also present. The eldest Yogesh is an MTech, and looks after his father’s business. The youngest son Ashish is studying in a boarding school in New Delhi.