Amit Shah, during his visit to Lucknow recently, clarified that Maurya will continue be a member of the Yogi Adityanath Cabinet, while ruling out the possibility of his being accommodated in the Union Cabinet. This means he will have to resign from the Phulpur Lok Sabha constituency, which will lead to a byelection there.
Though there was no official confirmation, a BSP source said, Mayawati is unlikely to contest the Phulpur seat. “Mayawati may not like to take a risk at this critical juncture in her long political career,” he said.
The source said the BJP candidate (Maurya) got 52% votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections with BSP candidate Kapil Muni Karwaria coming to a poor third with just 17% votes. The SP candidate, Dharam Raj Singh Patel, came second with about 20% votes. Congress’ Mohammed Kaif secured just 6%. In the recent Assembly elections also, the BSP stood third in four of the five Assembly segments of the Phulpur Lok Sabha constituency.
The source said so far there is no assurance from the SP and the Congress for fielding a joint candidate against the BJP in Phulpur. There has been speculation that the BSP leader may become the joint Opposition candidate from Phulpur after she gave up her Rajya Sabha seat last month.
However, the source said, there is a section within the party which wants Mayawati to go for a byelection. This, according to them, will not only be a political comeback but will rejuvenate the party cadre.
The BSP, whose leader ruled UP for four times, does not have a single member in the Lok Sabha. It is left with only five MPs in the Rajya Sabha after Maywati’s resignation. In the Assembly elections, the party could win only 19 seat in a House of 403 seats.
Mayawati’s term in the Rajya Sabha was due to end next April, but she resigned on 18 July after RS Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien refused to allow her to make an impromptu speech on the issue of violence against Dalits in Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh. Sources said it would be impossible for her to be elected to the RS on her own.
However, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav has offered to extend support to her.