BJP Works for Everyone, Irrespective of Caste and Religion: Uttar Pradesh Deputy State Chief

© PhotoUttar Pradesh Deputy State Chief and BJP politician Keshav Prasad Maurya
Uttar Pradesh Deputy State Chief and BJP politician Keshav Prasad Maurya - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.02.2022
Legislative assembly elections in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh have begun. They are scheduled to be held in seven phases. Polling for the second phase is being held on Monday. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is contesting the polls with an aim to retain power in the state while the opposition is trying its best to uproot it.
The state assembly polls in India's Uttar Pradesh hold great significance as they set the tone for the country's parliamentary polls, scheduled for 2024.
The nation's most populous state is currently led by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician-monk. The state's main opposition is led by the Samajwadi Party of Akhilesh Yadav, a former state chief (2012 to 2017).
In an interview with Sputnik, Uttar Pradesh Deputy State Chief and BJP politician Keshav Prasad Maurya talked about the party's strategy in the key polls, recent defections, and other important issues.
The 52-year-old Maurya has been the face of the backward class of the party in the state and is the regional coordinator of the backward class cell.
He also holds the portfolio of public works, food processing, entertainment tax, and public enterprises in the Yogi Adityanath government.
Sputnik: Opposition parties have been accusing the BJP government of a lack of development in the state. You hold the portfolio for the PWD department, can you list the work done during your tenure?
Keshav Prasad Maurya: To see the development work done by the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, the opposition has to have an unbiased mindset.
Our work is more than that of the combined governments formed in several years by Congress, the Samajwadi Party (SP), and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
Five international airports have been constructed in the last five years. As of now, eight airports are operational while 13 airports and seven runways are being constructed.
While only two expressways were constructed in 70 years, our government has built five expressways in five years. A metro train is now running in Noida, Lucknow, Ghaziabad, and Kanpur in the state, while work on the metro rail project is going on in Agra, Meerut, Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Prayagraj, and Jhansi.
Nine medical colleges have been inaugurated, whereas construction work of 14 medical colleges is going on. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has been made operational in Gorakhpur and Rae Bareli.
Apart from this, 4.6 million houses for the poor have been constructed, free rations have been distributed among 150 million people, more than 30 million toilets have been constructed, facilities for free dialysis and CT scans have been made available in 54 and 59 districts respectively.
As far as my department is concerned, earlier the Public Works Department (PWD) was considered the centre of corruption.
Our government adopted an integrated strategy to transform the image of the PWD department. We launched the "Prahari" app to bring in more transparency in the department. The condition of the roads in the state has also improved.
The villages on the Lucknow expressway which are not connected with the service road are being connected so that people living there can also use the expressway.
Sputnik: Road connectivity is still a big problem in rural areas. How much road construction has been done under the "Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana" (Prime Minister's Rural Road Scheme)?
Keshav Prasad Maurya: In the last five years, our government has constructed 7,007 km of roads under the "Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana". Apart from this, 14,471 km of roads have been widened, 82 roads which connect bordering states of 929 km length were constructed and 15,246 km of new roads and 925 bridges were also constructed.
Sputnik: The opposition has been accusing the state government of failing to provide employment. How would you counter this allegation?
Keshav Prasad Maurya: The allegations levelled by the opposition are baseless. Our government has provided jobs to more than 450,000 youths. Around 30 million jobs have been provided through micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), while 2.5 million people got work through the One District One Product (ODOP) scheme.
As many as 500,000 youths in the state have been employed by new startups, whereas more than 300,000 people have been employed by big industrial units.
Sputnik: There were speculations that you had some differences with Yogi Adityanath and you wanted to replace him as the face of the state chief in the upcoming elections. How true is that?
Keshav Prasad Maurya: This is not at all true. The entire government has worked as a united team. Everyone has fulfilled the responsibility assigned to him or her. We all have discharged our duty of serving the public with utmost honesty and kept their interest as our priority.
Sputnik: Samajwadi Party, the state's main opposition party, has formed a strong alliance with some regional parties as well as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Trinamool Congress (TMC). What will the strategy of the BJP be to counter the alliance?
Keshav Prasad Maurya: The Samajwadi Party can form an alliance with anyone but it won't benefit it. People know their reality. The alliance formed by them can't win the elections on the basis of casteism. The parties like NCP and TMC have no support base in the state.
The slogan of the BJP is "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas" (collective development with everyone's involvement). We don't believe in casteism, rather we want everyone to grow and develop. The people of Uttar Pradesh are in our favour and will support us. Their support will help in fighting all such alliances.
Sputnik: A lot of leaders, including some ministers from the non-Yadav community, Other Backward Class (OBC), left the BJP just ahead of the elections. How does the BJP plan to negate the impact of these defections?
Keshav Prasad Maurya: The BJP still has and will always have the support of all the castes and communities. We are confident about it because we have worked for everyone irrespective of caste, community, or religion.
There will be hardly any impact of some of the politicians leaving the party ahead of the elections. Rather, I believe that they will see the impact of changing sides for their personal benefits. Politicians like Swami Prasad Maurya and Om Prakash Rajbhar are examples of such politicians, as they are looking for safe seats to contest polls fearing a defeat.
Sputnik: The Bundelkhand region is still one of the neglected areas of the state. Is there any roadmap to uplift the area?
Keshav Prasad Maurya: Our government has been continuously working for the development of the Bundelkhand area. The biggest problem of the area since independence has been water and to solve it, our government launched "Har Ghar Nal Yojana" (a scheme ensuring every household has a water tap). Now, pure drinking water is being supplied to every household in the area.
Along with this, infrastructure development has been taken up in the area at a fast pace. The irrigation facility in the area has also been enhanced by our government.
Previous governments had neglected Bundelkhand. But now it is one of the centres of development in the last five years during the regime of the BJP.
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