Blowing the poll bugle soon after his arrival here on Monday, newly-appointed Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya said the party’s aim was to make the state ‘SP-BSP free.’
He said party cadres would play a key role in achieving the BJP’s aim of wresting power from the SP in the 2017 assembly polls.
He also talked about “honouring and respecting” party cadres, hundreds of whom turned up to welcome him at Charbagh railway station and escorted him to the BJP office. Maurya was in the state capital to announce the launch of ‘Mission 265-plus’ in UP. The OBC leader faces a tough challenge as the party has been out of power in the state since 2003. A confident Maurya also told party workers that the BJP would form the government in UP in 2017.
Maurya’s visit comes a day after the BJP expelled a member of its women’s wing, Rajeshwari Patel, for questioning Maurya’s appointment. Patel, who like Maurya belongs to Allahabad, argued that several criminal cases against him could spoil the party’s image ahead of the assembly polls. Later speaking at the party office, Maurya said the cases were ‘political’. He asserted that the BJP’s campaign would be based on ‘development’.
BJP UP unit general secretary Pankaj Singh, who is son of union home minister Rajnath Singh, and former party state president Laxmikant Bajpai were among those who welcomed Maurya at the railway station.
Several other leaders, including those believed to be in the fray for Maurya’s position, were also there to welcome him. They included union ministers Ram Shankar Katheria, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Santosh Gangwar and some other former UP BJP chiefs -- Vinay Katiyar, Om Prakash Singh, Surya Pratap Shahi and Ramapati Ram Tripathi, among others. Maurya thanked “everyone” and solicited their support. “I must admit that I was surprised by my appointment. I am relatively young and inexperienced. But by appointing a ‘karyakarta’ like me, the party has shown how democratic it is. I would seek your help and guidance from time to time,” he said.