U.P. MINISTER SWAMI MAURYA QUITS YOGI CABINET, MAY JOIN SP - The Daily Guardian
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U.P. MINISTER SWAMI MAURYA QUITS YOGI CABINET, MAY JOIN SP

Four more MLAs also quit; BJP launches ‘door-to-door’ campaign across UP’; BSP chief Mayawati won’t contest polls.

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Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath.

Prominent OBC face of the Yogi Adityanath government, Swami Prasad Maurya, resigned from the Uttar Pradesh cabinet on Tuesday, less than 30 days before the first phase of the Uttar Pradesh elections are held on 10 February. Maurya, who held the labour and employment ministry, in his resignation letter to Governor Anandi Ben, claimed that he was resigning due to neglect of Dalits, backwards, farmers, unemployed, youth as well as small traders by the UP government.

Following his resignation, four more MLAs close to him—Roshan Lal Verma, Brijesh Prajapati, Bhagwati Sagar and Vinay Shakya—too announced their resignations. All are likely to contest the elections on a Samajwadi Party (SP) ticket. Soon after tendering his resignation, Maurya went and met SP chief Akhilesh Yadav. Akhilesh Yadav shared a photo of him with Maurya on Twitter, and welcomed him into the Samajwadi Party fold. Soon after Maurya’s resignation, Yadav tweeted, “I welcome Swami Prasad Maurya, who struggled for social justice and equality in the state, to the Samajwadi Party. There will be a revolution for social justice, there will be a change in 2022.”

On Twitter, Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya urged Swami Prasad Maurya to reconsider his move. “I don’t know for what reasons respected Swami Prasad Maurya has tendered his resignation. I appeal to him to sit down for a talk. Decisions taken in a hurry often prove wrong,” he said in a tweet in Hindi.

Maurya, a five-time MLA, had joined the BJP in 2016 after resigning from the BSP. He was considered crucial for the BJP’s OBC outreach effort in the state to garner the non Yadav OBC which account for close to 40% of the total population.

Maurya, who is a MLA from Padrauna in eastern Uttar Pradesh, BJP party source, said, was unhappy with two things— “not being given importance by the state leadership (referring to the CM) and the party’s reluctance to confirm an assembly ticket for his son”, a redux of what happened in the 2012 Assembly elections when he was able to secure three tickets from the BSP for himself, his daughter and his son.

The BSP chief, Mayawati, had then given tickets to Maurya’s son Utkarsh Maurya from Dalmau in Rae Bareli, to his daughter Sanghamitra from Aliganj in Etah while Maurya senior himself contested from Padrauna in Kushinagar. Both the son and daughter had lost the elections then. Sanghamitra is now a BJP MP from Badaun.

While resigning from the BSP in June 2016, Maurya had claimed the same things that he claimed on Wednesday, that he was resigning due to neglect of party workers and the public. While the electoral impact of the 68-year-old Maurya’s movement will come to the fore on 10 March, when the elections are declared, the SP is likely to market Maurya as an example of BJP’s “anti-OBC stance” to attract voters who belongs to the biggest caste group among OBCs in the state after the Yadavs and Kurmis. Known by surnames like Kachhi, Maurya, Kushwaha, Saini and Shakya, this OBC group is present in almost all Assembly seats from East to West UP.

BJP party sources told The Daily Guardian that the departure of Maurya was not unexpected as had been discussing this with his close associates. “The fact that he had problems with the party was no secret. He was not getting ‘enough space’ and value in the BJP that he used to get in the BSP because of the presence of Keshav Prasad Maurya and the different style of functioning in BJP. We are not worried. Due to this development, the voters in his constituency will see through his lies that he left BJP not because of a ‘bigger reason’ but for his personal benefits not being fulfilled,” a party spokesperson said.

In June last year, in what was perceived as a direct challenge to CM Adityanath, Maurya had declared that who will be the next CM of Uttar Pradesh will be decided post the results. Sources close to him said that after this, he was getting indications that even if the party wins the elections, he was unlikely to be made a minister.

Meanwhile, with the Election Commission putting a moratorium on holding rallies and public gatherings due to a spurt in coronavirus cases, the BJP on Tuesday launched a “door-to-door campaign” to reach out to voters across Uttar Pradesh. Starting the campaign in the state capital Lucknow, UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh knocked on doors of houses in Ballu Adda area and pasted stickers outside the homes and also applied “tilak” on the forehead of some house owners. “As per the guidelines of the Election Commission, the BJP is reaching to the beneficiaries of various schemes of the Centre and state governments. We are giving our report card to the public, and taking suggestions from them as well. This is the first government, which is going door-to-door,” Singh told reporters.

A report from Lucknow said that former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati will not contest the upcoming Assembly polls in the state. “Former Chief Minister Mayawati and I will not contest the Assembly elections,” BSP MP Satish Chandra Misra said. Mayawati has never contested an Assembly election in the state in the past. Taking a jibe on the Samajwadi Party, Misra said, “If Samajwadi Party does not have 400 candidates, how will they win 400 seats?” The BSP MP said that neither SP nor BJP will come to power and stated that BSP is going to form the government in Uttar Pradesh. (WITH AGENCY INPUTS)

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J&K: Terrorist attacks on army camp; 3 soldiers martyred, 2 terrorists killed

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Terrorist Killed

Militants attacked Rajouri military camp in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday in which three soldiers were martyred and two terrorists were killed.

Meanwhile, ADGP Jammu, Mukesh Singh confirmed the terror attack on the army camp. He said that there is an army camp in the Pargal area of ​​the Darhal sector adjoining the LoC. As soon as they entered the area, the terrorists attacked late Wednesday night, in which two jawans were also injured.

According to ADGP Pargal is 25 km away from the Rajouri district. Taking advantage of the darkness of night, the terrorists started firing indiscriminately at the soldiers. Five jawans were seriously injured in the attack, they were taken to the hospital. Doctors declared three jawans brought dead and two injured jawans are admitted to the hospital.

Moreover, security forces said that the terrorists have launched an attack and there may be more terrorists in the area. Due to this, SOG and Army personnel have started a search operation around the military camp. Alert has been declared in all areas around the LoC. Security forces have also intensified patrolling.

However, on Wednesday there was an encounter between terrorists and security forces in Budgam. In the last 24 hours, this is the second encounter in the valley. Security forces had killed all three terrorists during an encounter in Budgam. TRF commander Latif Rather was also among the slain terrorists. The other two terrorists are said to be Pakistanis.

According to ADGP (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar, Latif and his two accomplices were entrusted with the responsibility of target killing in Kashmir by their masters. Latif Rather was the mastermind of the murder of Kashmiri Hindu Rahul Bhatt, besides TV actor Amrin Butt and female teacher Rajni Bala.

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CONGRESS, LEFT LEADERS CONVERGE FOR RJD MEET

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CPI ML, Congress, and Rashtriya Janata Dal leaders arrived at the residence of Rabri Devi, wife of party chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in Patna on Tuesday.

The meeting of the RJD convened by its leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, the son of Lalu Yadav also saw leaders of the Communist Party of India (CPI) and leaders of Congress who are part of Mahagathbandhan or the grand Opposition alliance in the state, according to Ajit Sharma, Congress Bihar legislature party leader.

The RJD leaders arriving for the meeting were asked to hand over their mobile phones ahead of the meeting

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NITISH’S DECISION A GOOD START: AKHILESH

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As Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar ended the alliance with BJP, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday termed the move as a “good start” towards taking a stand against BJP by political parties and people.

While talking to mediapersons in Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh, Yadav said, “It’s a good start. On this day, the slogan of ‘Angrezo Bharat Chhodo’ was given and today the slogan of ‘BJP Bhagaon’ is coming from Bihar. I think soon, political parties and people in different states will stand against BJP.”

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Chirag Paswan seeks President’s Rule in Bihar

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Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) leader Chirag Paswan on Tuesday demanded President’s rule in Bihar followed by fresh elections after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar resigned from his post and broke his alliance with Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).

Hitting out at Kumar, Paswan said, “Today, the credibility of Kumar is zero”. He said that fresh assembly elections should be held to allow people to give a fresh mandate.

“We want President’s rule to be imposed in Bihar and the state should go for a fresh election. Do you (Kumar) have any ideology or not? In the next polls, Janata Dal (United) will get zero seats,” said Paswan.

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BJP MEETING GOES IN VAIN

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The meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party over the rift in National Democratic Alliance concluded at the residence of Deputy Chief Minister Tarkishore Prasad in Patna on Tuesday.

But it was all in vain as Nitish Kumar resigned from the Chief Minister post and formed the new ‘Mahagathbandhan’ or Grand Alliance with Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).

After the meeting, party leaders Bhikhubhai Dalsaniya, Renu Devi, Mangal Pandey, Nitin Navin, Amrendra Pratap Singh, and Samrat Chaudhary left Prasad’s house. 

Rumours of a growing rift between the BJP-JDU), that is, the NDA alliance in Bihar intensified after Kumar skipped a key meeting of the NITI Aayog, headed by Prime Minister.

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A day-long political drama in Bihar

An intense war of words unleashed in the political arena following Nitish Kumar’s break up with BJP.

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ALL JD(U) MEMBERS WANTED SPLIT WITH BJP: NITISH KUMAR

Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar on Tuesday said that all party MPs and MLAs, who attended the party meeting on Tuesday, were of opinion that the party should leave the BJP-led NDA alliance. “All MPs and MLAs reached a consensus that we should leave the NDA. Soon after, I resigned as Bihar CM,” Kumar told media persons here.

“Meeting with the MPs, MLAs and MLCs were held today. Everyone’s wish was that we should leave NDA. So as everyone wished, we accepted the same and I submitted the resignation from the post of the Chief Minister in the NDA government,” he added.

According to sources, many Janata Dal (United) legislators told Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in Tuesday’s meeting that the alliance with the Bhartiya Janata Party had weakened them since 2020.

Without naming Chirag Paswan, the legislators are reported to have recalled the actions of the former Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief during the 2020 state assembly polls while warning the CM that if they were not alert, it would not be good for the party. Paswan had fielded rebel BJP candidates on all seats fought by the JD(U) in the 2020 polls, in what some have alleged was part of a plot by the BJP to wedge its way into the ruling coalition in the state.

BJP DESTROYS PARTIES WITH WHOM IT FORMS ALLIANCE: TEJASHWI 

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav on Tuesday said that recent political history indicates that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) destroys parties with whom it forms alliances.

While addressing a joint presser with new ally Nitish Kumar, Yadav said, “Across the Hindi heartland, BJP does not have any alliance partner. History shows that the BJP destroys the parties with whom it forms alliances. We did see that happening in Punjab and Maharashtra.”

Yadav was accompanied by JD(U) leader and caretaker Chief Minister Kumar, who broke his alliance with the BJP and entered into a tie-up with RJD and some other parties.

“Today all parties and members of the Bihar Legislative Assembly except the BJP have accepted Nitish Kumar as their leader,” added Yadav. He said, “JP Nadda said they will end regional parties. BJP knows only to intimidate and buy people. All of us wanted the BJP’s agenda shouldn’t be implemented in Bihar, we all know Laluji stopped the ‘Rath’ of Advaniji, and we won’t relent at any cost.”

The JD(U) and RJD together constitute a majority in the 243-member state assembly. JD(U) has 45 and the RJD has 79 MLAs. They also have the support of smaller parties like Jitan Manjhi’s HAM. The BJP has 77 MLAs in the state assembly.

BIHAR BJP LEADERS SLAM NITISH, SAY IT’S BETRAYAL 

Right after Nitish Kumar chose to resign as Bihar Chief Minister, the Bihar BJP expressed dissatisfaction and said that JD(U) had betrayed Bihar and the people’s mandate.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad lashed out at Kumar for breaking aliance between their parties and staking claim to form government with RJD support saying he had “disrespected the mandate given by the people of Bihar. Addressing a short presser in Patna, Prasad said, “Kumar has left and said that BJP was trying to destroy his party…BJP made him a union minister several times. He was also made a Chief Minister. Why did he re-think his decision on alliance with RJD in 2015 and come to BJP in 2017?.” “Kumar is disrespecting the mandate of Bihar’s people. It’s a baseless allegation that BJP was trying to destroy JD(U),” said the former union minister.

Bihar BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal said, “In the 2020 Bihar assembly elections, all of us contested under the NDA alliance and the majority and mandate was given by the people to JDU and BJP. However, as on date, Nitish played with the public mandate. JD(U) betrayed Bihar.” 

“We were successful in winning 74 seats, but we fulfilled the promise made by the Prime Minister and Kumar became the Chief Minister of this NDA alliance. However, whatever happened today is a betrayal of the people of Bihar and the BJP,” he said.

Union Minister and BJP leader R.K. Singh raised questions over the political moves of Kumar asking how the JD(U) leader would justify an alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) which he has often called “corrupt”.

“Fifteen years of RJD rule took the state backwards. Kumar also said this multiple times. How will he justify entering into an alliance with the RJD whom he said is corrupt? All of this is politics for power. There is no morality and he should be ashamed,” Singh, who hails from Bihar, told ANI. 

However, a BJP leader has contradictory views. Union Minister Kaushal Kishor said that the BJP wants Kumar to continue as chief minister of the state.

Rumours of a growing rift between the BJP-JDU in the NDA alliance in Bihar intensified after Kumar skipped a key meeting of the NITI Aayog, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Sunday and JD(U) leader RCP Singh tendered his resignation from the party. Singh, once considered a close aide of Kumar had announced his exit from the party after being served a notice seeking an explanation on allegations of corruption. However, BJP leaders have dismissed any estrangement with the JD(U). “Certainly the government under the leadership of Kumar will run firmly with the BJP alliance. As far as I’m concerned and if there was such a thing, it would depend on the time and circumstances,” said Kishor.

“I do not want to wish to comment over the political situations in Bihar, but there is no such attempt from the BJP which would have raised any dispute or confusion. JDU will take its call as per its ongoing meeting, but it is to underscore that the BJP definitely wants Kumar to continue as the CM of the state,” he said. Kishor said that the coalition government, comprising BJP, JDU, and all others, in the state will work more strongly for the welfare of Bihar and the countrypersons.

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