Swami Prasad Maurya, a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) heavyweight leader who resigned this week, is all set to make a major dent in the party, with many rebels likely to join hands with him, increasing the political temperature in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the Assembly polls next year. Maurya was Leader of the Opposition in the UP Assembly and resigned saying that BSP chief Mayawati was selling tickets.

Sources said that Maurya, an OBC leader, is also likely to launch a new party next week despite being wooed by the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “Just wait for 1 July when we hold a massive meeting at the CMS auditorium in Lucknow and you will see a large number of BSP MLAs and other senior leaders there. It will become clear how many of them are with us,” Sanghmitra Maurya, daughter of Swami Prasad Maurya, told The Sunday Guardian.

According to BSP chief Mayawati, Maurya wanted a ticket for his daughter for the Assembly elections, but was denied and therefore he left the party. Sanghmitra, who unsuccessfully contested the Aliganj Assembly constituency in Etah (UP) in 2012, said what her father said about the BSP chief is not merely an allegation. “Tickets are actually being given in exchange of money. You should just talk to any BSP worker, not as a journalist, but as a ticket aspirant and you will come to know the reality. This is a bitter truth,” she said.

“What is worse,” according to her, “is that even if you manage to get a ticket because of money power, there is no guarantee that you will contest the elections finally.” “In case somebody comes at a later stage and pays more, he will get the ticket and your candidature will be gone. Thus, in a way, tickets are not being sold, but auctioned,” said Sanghmitra, who also contested against SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, but lost.

Asked about her father’s future course of action, Sanghmitra said: “The purpose of the 1 July meeting is to decide where to go—to join another party or to launch a new party. Our future will be decided in the meeting after discussions with other senior party leaders and workers.” Asked how many party MLAs will attend the meeting, Sanghmitra said: “The number of my father’s loyalists is big enough. There are many people who are willing to join us.” However, she didn’t reveal any names, saying “just wait for a few more days”.

However, sources said Swami Prasad Maurya is most likely to announce his own party. “He would like to weigh himself through the next week’s meeting. It will be easier for him to bargain with SP or BJP after he shows his clout to the world,” a source said. Sources said apart frpm some of the 80 MLAs, some old timers may also join hands with Maurya. They include Dinanath Bhaskar, Daddu Prasad, Babu Singh Kushwaha and Jugal Kishore. Bhaskar was with the BSP from its initial days, but left it to join BJP. Daddu Prasad, a former minister, was a close aide of BSP founder Kanshi Ram. However, he was removed by Mayawati two years ago. Babu Singh Kushwaha, on the other hand, was once Mayawati’s trusted lieutenant and a powerful minister in UP. However, he was forced to resign after being implicated in the murder of two chief medical officers. He joined the BJP, which led to a revolt in the party. Kushwaha then formed his own Jan Adhikar Manch. Jugal Kishore was also once Mayawati’s trusted man, but was removed two years ago. Kishore then joined the BJP. Sources said BSP’s two other stalwart leaders—Satish Chandra Mishra and Brajesh Pathak—were not comfortable with Swami Prasad Maurya’s growing profile in the party and were acting against him. Maurya was not being called at Mayawati’s press conferences for some time.

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