Samajwadi Party's National General Secretary Leader Quits Post

Swami Prasad Maurya had made controversial statements on the Ramcharitmanas and the Ayodhya temple consecration ceremony.

Samajwadi Party's National General Secretary Leader Quits Post

Swami Prasad Maurya had raised questions on Ram Lalla's 'Pran Pratishtha' ceremony (File)

Samajwadi Party leader Swami Prasad Maurya on Tuesday resigned as the party's national general secretary accusing the leadership of discriminating against him and not defending him over his remarks.

Swami Prasad Maurya had made controversial statements on the Ramcharitmanas and the Ayodhya temple consecration ceremony.

Last week, he stirred up a controversy by raising questions on the consecration ceremony at the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Speaking on the governor's address in the Legislative Assembly, Swami Prasad Maurya had raised questions on Ram Lalla's 'Pran Pratishtha' (consecration) ceremony and said when Lord Ram has been worshipped in Ayodhya for thousands of years, what was the need to spend crores of rupees on the consecration ceremony on January 22.

A member of the state legislative council from the SP, Swami Prasad Maurya had joined the Samajwadi Party from the BJP before the 2022 polls and unsuccessfully contested the assembly polls from Fazilnagar. His daughter Sanghmitra is BJP MP from Budaun.

Reacting to his statement, SP chief whip in the assembly Manoj Kumar Pandey condemned Swami Prasad Maurya in very harsh words.

"I do not want to give any statement on what he (Maurya) has said. A person who does not have mental balance keeps making such statements. The party has repeatedly asked him not to do so, but when a deranged man does not want to listen to instructions, no one can do anything." SP national general secretary Shivpal Singh Yadav had said, "There should be no propaganda on religion, it should be practised," but did not elaborate.

In his resignation letter addressed to party president Akhilesh Yadav, Swami Prasad Maurya said, "I continued trying to increase the support base of the party in my own way. I tried to bring back the self-respect of the tribal people, Dalits and backward classes, who had knowingly or unknowingly fallen into the BJP's web and joined the party, by awakening and cautioning them."

"When I tried, some small and big leaders of the party tried to discourage me by saying 'this is Maurya ji's personal statement', but I did not take it otherwise," he said.

He said, "Even when I attacked hypocrisy, the same people were again seen saying similar things. I did not regret this either, because in accordance with the Constitution, I am raising people with scientific thinking and bringing people to SP." "I received about two dozen threats of shooting, murder, beheading with a sword, cutting tongue, cutting off nose-ears, cutting off hands, etc. 'Supari' (contract) of different amounts like Rs 51 crore, Rs 51 lakh, Rs 21 lakh, Rs 11 lakh and Rs 10 lakh etc were announced against me. Many times there were deadly attacks but every time I narrowly escaped. Many FIRs were lodged against me by those in power, but I continued with my campaign without worrying about my safety," he said.

Peeved over terming his statements as "personal" by party leaders, Swami Prasad Maurya said, "I was surprised when a senior most leader of the party, instead of remaining silent, tried to break the morale of the workers by saying my statements are personal. I could not understand that I am a national general secretary whose statement becomes a personal statement. There are some national general secretaries and leaders whose every statement becomes a party statement." "How the statements of those on the same post become party statements and mine become personal is beyond understanding," he added.

He said he had suggested party chief Akhilesh Yadav last year to take out a rath yatra to press demand of caste census, reservation of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes, unemployment and rising inflation, problems of farmers and for providing remunerative prices, protecting democracy and opposing the sale of national assets.

"On this you (Akhilesh) agreed and said this yatra will be carried out after Holi. Even after this no positive result came. As per the intention of the leadership, I did not consider it appropriate to talk about this again," he said.

He claimed that due to his efforts, the tribal people, Dalits and backward classes have got more inclined towards the SP.

He said due to his personal efforts, the party's support base increased and added that if there is discrimination even against someone holding the post of national general secretary, "then I think there is no justification for continuing in such a 'bhed-bhavpurn aur mahatvheen' (discriminatory and unimportant) post".

"Therefore, I am resigning from the post of national general secretary of Samajwadi Party. Please accept it," he said in his letter.

"I will continue to work to strengthen the party without any post," Swami Prasad Maurya said, sharing his resignation letter on social media.

Swami Prasad Maurya, who is considered a prominent leader of the backward classes in the state, has also been a member of the Legislative Assembly five times, a minister in the Uttar Pradesh government, leader of the House and leader of the opposition (2012-17) when he was in BSP.

He was the labour minister in the Yogi Adityanath government between 2017 and 2022 and quit the BJP ahead of the last assembly election. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)