Maurya, Dinesh and the Sangh

first_imgThough their political journeys could not have been more different, what connects the two new Deputy Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh is their deep association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).If Dinesh Sharma was born into a family with strong connections to the Sangh, Keshav Prasad Maurya started working with the RSS and its affiliates — the Vishwa Hindu Parishad-Bajrang Dal — from an early age.Grassroots workerMr. Maurya was active in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and various gauraksha campaigns in the State. He has held various RSS posts such as nagar karyawah.Mr. Maurya has been the regional (Kashi) coordinator of the Backward Class cell of the BJP and the Kisan Morcha. He won the prestigious Phulpur seat in Allahabad in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.Mr. Sharma, born on January 12, 1964, is a two-time Mayor of Lucknow. His father Kedarnath Sharma was close to Sangh ideologue Deen Dayal Upadyaya, who was a regular visitor to their home in Aishbagh.The Ramleela maidan in Aishbag was where Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated Dasera last year, in a break from convention.Back then, Mr. Sharma was mentioned as a Chief Minister hopeful, though he always denied he had such ambitions, saying he was only a humble karyakarta (worker) of the party.Mr. Sharma enjoys a clean image and is popular across communities. He is also a life-time member of the World Association for Vedic Studies. His RSS background and good equations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah has seen him rise quickly up the BJP ladder. After Mr. Modi stormed to power at the Centre, Mr. Sharma was promoted as party vice-president and appointed in charge of party affairs in Gujarat.He started his career from the Yuva Morcha, holding the post of both vice-president and president of the U.P. BJP youth front. Mr. Sharma, a professor at Lucknow University’s Commerce Department, has guided around two dozen Ph.D students. He was first elected Lucknow Mayor in 2008 and re-elected in 2012.According to BJP spokesperson Chandramohan, Mr. Sharma is closely connected to the RSS-BJP organization. “He is an organization man. Both he and Keshavji are full-timers, who have the capacity to work long hours. That went in their favour,” Mr. Chandramohan said.Mr. Maurya has had a tough journey to the top. Born in 1969, in Sirathu in Kausambhi district, adjoining Allahabad, Mr Maurya is hails from the kushwaha,community that traditionally sold vegetables.He sold tea and newspapers during his childhood — a likeness to Mr. Modi, which the BJP much publicised — before going on to study Hindi Literature at the Hindu Sahitya Sammelan in Sangam City.Unlike Mr. Sharma, Mr. Maurya has had a controversial political journey. He faces charges in as many as 10 criminal cases. While being the prime accused in a murder case, he is also booked for promoting enmity between groups, criminal intimidation, deliberate acts of hurting religious sentiment, criminal conspiracy and rioting.Though he had a handsome victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha election and is today the BJP State president, Mr. Maurya’s political career started with defeats as he lost two consecutive Assembly elections in 2002 and 2007, before winning in 2012. Ever since he was promoted as State president, his popularity has grown and he had the most extensive tour of U.P. during the election campaign.last_img

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