Win at all costs? PM Modi’s reforms meet realpolitik in Uttar Pradesh polls

Maurya, BJP UP President, said his party is moving towards cleaner and transparent politics

Elections 2017 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised to clean up politics. The man running the ruling party’s campaign in a crucial state election, who is facing 11 criminal cases, says it will take a while.

“At a time of elections, one has to forget every other aspect and just focus on victory,” said Keshav Prasad Maurya, as his three-vehicle convoy carrying police with automatic rifles sped through the countryside.

Polls open on Saturday in Uttar Pradesh, with a population of some 220 million, and on the ground Modi’s loftier aims for a new India seem far away.

Maurya, the state’s president for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), says the charges against him are false and politically motivated; unless he is convicted, they do not prevent him from holding office.

His bosses are not concerned.

An official at the prime minister’s office referred questions about Maurya and his criminal cases to the BJP, where an aide to party president and Modi confidant Amit Shah said there was no problem.

The charges are related to Maurya protesting on behalf of Hindu causes, said the aide, and anyone who does so “is not a criminal in the party’s eyes.”

“Slowly,” Maurya told Reuters, “the BJP will be moving towards a direction where it will only have politicians who are absolutely clean and have no cases of corruption against them.” (more)

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