Surrounded by controversy over his remarks on Hindu epic Ramcharitmanas, SP Legislative Council member Swami Prasad Maurya on Saturday met party President Akhilesh Yadav here at the party office and discussed the caste-based survey.
Maurya reached the SP office around noon and held a meeting with Yadav for about 90 minutes. He later told PTI that the meeting was about various issues including the speeding up of campaign for caste-based survey. The Samajwadi Party has been making vociferous demands for a caste based survey in the state. Yadav had in the run up to the assembly election last year promised to hold a caste survey in the state if the party comes to power. Asked whether there was any talk about his remarks on Shri Ramcharitmanas in the meeting, the former cabinet minister said, “SP President Akhilesh Yadav will answer this in the House as Leader of the Opposition.” Yadav will also give the party’s view on Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath stating in Rajasthan on Friday that Sanatan dharma is the country’s national religion, Maurya said. “The Bharatiya Janata Party government is ending the reservation for Dalits, backward and deprived. In such a situation, the SP will come with a new strategy regarding the demand for caste-based survey,” he said. Maurya kicked up a little storm in Uttar Pradesh politics on January 22, when he referred to a couplet in Shri Ramcharitmanas and called it derogatory towards women and backward people, demanding a ban on it.
The statement quickly snowballed into a controversy with several priest bodies and Hindu organisations coming out to condemn it. A case has also been registered against Maurya in this matter. The SP has since distanced itself from Maurya’s statement terming it his personal opinion.