AMID A controversy after he demanded a ban of parts of the epic Ramcharitmanas, Samajwadi Party MLC Swami Prasad Maurya on Friday said that “97 per cent of the people on social media” support him and that he stands by his statement about the text.
On Sunday, Maurya, an OBC leader, said that the epic written by Goswami Tuslidas, has “objectionable language” for women, Dalits, tribals and backward class.
Speaking to The Indian Express on Friday, Maurya said, “BJP is a congregation of those who abuse. And hence, they stand with those who abuse. What I have said about women, Adivasis, Dalits, and Backwards. In the name of religion, abuse and humiliation is wrong. I have demanded some verses of the Ramcharitmanas be banned. Till now, I stick to what I said and I am talking about 97 per cent of the population of this country. It is natural that those who have been abusing so far and consider it to be religion, they are having stomach ache. If abuse is religion, then they can have their religion. We can’t accept it.”
Asked why no one from the Samajwadi Party is supporting his statement, he said, “You should see social media and debates on television channels. On social media, 97 per cent people are supporting me. And as far as parties are concerned, only one specific caste group is opposing my statement,” he said.
On Monday, as the BJP attacked Maurya and the party, the SP’s chief whip in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, Manoj Pandey had said that “we all respect Ramcharitmanas and granths of other religions too”.
Asked if he has support from SP chief Akhilesh Yadav for his statement, he said, “I have not said this to make anyone happy. I have said it for the sake of respect of 97 per cent of people of the country. It is my personal statement. Why is it being seen from the perspective of SP?”
Maurya had switched to the BJP from the BSP ahead of the 2017 polls. Five years later, ahead of the 2022 Assembly elections, he moved from the BJP to the SP. After he lost in the elections, the SP got him elected to the Legislative Council.
Asked why he made the statement at this time, he said, “When the question is asked, I will answer. Some mediapersons asked me the question (on Sunday), and I answered it. If I was asked earlier, I would have said the same.”
Maurya was booked over his remarks about the epic at Lucknow’s Hazratganj police station.
The remarks made by Maurya, an OBC leader, had come after Bihar Education Minister Chandra Shekhar also said Ramcharitmanas contained several objectionable remarks over caste.