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UP Ex Minister Swami Prasad Maurya, Who Joined Akhilesh Yadav Camp Just Before Polls, Loses

UP results: Swami Prasad Maurya had switched to Samajwadi Party before the election

New Delhi:

A former Uttar Pradesh minister in the Yogi Adityanath government, whose exit was billed as a big blow to the BJP just before the elections, has been defeated by a BJP candidate.

The former BJP leader, Swami Prasad Maurya, had switched to Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav’s camp along with four MLAs a month before the elections started in February.

Mr Maurya is an Other Backward Classes, or OBC, leader and five-time MLA. After joining the BJP in 2016, he became central to the BJP’s plans to draw a critical section of OBC voters to counter Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party.

His exit in January led to speculations that OBC voters would have a big effect and hurt the BJP’s chances. That did not happen, as the results show.

Mr Maurya lost to the BJP’s Surendra Kumar Kushwaha, who has held on to his seat in UP’s Fazilnagar.

In a tweet, the new Samajwadi Party leader accepted defeat.

“Congratulations to all the winning candidates. I respect the people’s mandate. I have lost the election, but not strength. The campaign of struggle will go on,” Mr Maurya tweeted in Hindi.

The BJP, riding high on the ‘Modi wave’, romped to victory in 2012 winning 312 of 403 seats – an increase of 265 from 2012. Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party, on the other hand, slumped from 80 in 2012 to 19 in 2017.

This time, the BJP is looking at a 260-plus tally in the 403-seat house. The Samajwadi Party is at a distant second. Mayawati’s party fared worse than the Congress.

The BJP is set to be the first party to get a consecutive second term in more than three decades in Uttar Pradesh. The state, with 80 seats, holds the key to power at the centre.

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