Maurya v Maurya in UP: New minister Baby Rani jabs ex-BJP leader Swami Prasad
Swami Prasad Maurya, who jumped ship to Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party, had alleged that Dalits were being neglected under the Yogi Adityanath government.
Two days after being inducted into the Yogi Adityanath cabinet, Uttar Pradesh minister Baby Rani Maurya has hit out at ex-minister and BJP leader Swami Prasad Maurya, calling him an 'opportunist' for switching to the Samajwadi Party before last month's assembly election.
Speaking to reporters, Baby Rani said she too belonged to the Jatav community - part of UP's Dalit population - and that she worked her way to important posts like mayor of Agra, governor of Madhya Pradesh and now UP minister. She said her community was looking to her with high hopes.
"From a mayor, the BJP made me a governor and then a cabinet minister. I am also the national vice president of the BJP," she said as she slammed her former colleague.
"Swami Prasad Maurya was an opportunist. He had come to find opportunities. He went after doing what he had to do and see for yourselves what is his condition today," she added.
Swami Prasad Maurya - an influential OBC leader - quit the ruling BJP last month and joined Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party. The move was seen as huge defeat for the BJP, particularly since it triggered a wave of cross-overs, including that of two other UP ministers.
Swami Prasad, while leaving the BJP, had alleged that Dalits were being neglected by the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh and predicted the ruling party's defeat.
As it turned out, though, not only did his former party retain power in UP - winning 255 of 403 seats - Swami Prasad lost to the BJP's SK Kushwaha from Fazilnagar by over 45,000 votes.
On Friday Yogi Adityanath took oath as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh for a second time.
The swearing-in ceremony was held in the presence of prime minister Narendra Modi and union ministers Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh, as well as BJP chief JP Nadda and others.
Two deputy chief ministers - Keshav Prasad Maurya and Brajesh Pathak - were also sworn-in, as were 16 cabinet ministers, 14 ministers with independent charge and 20 ministers of state.