The BJP's Sanghamitra Maurya, who campaigned for her father Swami Prasad Maurya - a Samajwadi Party candidate - in the Uttar Pradesh polls, has defended her decision to back her father in the election. The decision to back her father was taken after he was "attacked" by BJP workers, Sanghamitra Maurya said, asserting that she will remain in the BJP.
"I am saying again that I was and will remain in BJP. My father was attacked so I came forward. I did not speak against the BJP, but its workers who riot. How can a daughter keep quiet when her father is attacked," Sanghamitra Maurya, who is the BJP's first-time MP from Budaun, told NDTV.
A former Uttar Pradesh minister in the Yogi Adityanath government, 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.
However, his attempt to switch camp did not yield result and Mr Maurya was defeated by BJP candidate in Fazilnagar by more than 45,000 votes.
Earlier, in January, Sanghamitra Maurya had said that her father had not discussed the matter with her before making the move. But there is no pressure on her to quit the BJP either, added the 37-year-old, who defeated Samajwadi Party's Dharmendra Yadav to win the seat in 2019.
"I am not under pressure to leave the BJP. I am and will be with the BJP," Ms Maurya told NDTV.
"Family life and political life completely different," she explained. But there was a caveat: "I will campaign for BJP in the entire state... But even at the behest of the party, I will not campaign against my father."
Swami Prasad 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.