SIRATHU(KAUSHAMBI): Tucked away inside an uneventful corner of Sirathu village, 73-year-old Dhanpati Maurya rubs her eyes in disbelief how her son, who once dutifully helped his father Shyamlal sell tea or worked as a newspaper hawker, has become a prominent figure in UP.
For Dhanpati, the life is still about drying her sarees on a clothesline, feeding cows, doing prayers of family deities Brahma Baba, Kale Ghore Baba and Lord Krishna or staving off a trespass bid from dozen monkeys who trapeze from trees to homes in search of food.
“Jab chhote the toh Shahkha lagate the (with RSS,), fir bade hue toh newspaper bechte the, aur bade hue toh papa ke saath chai bechte the, (He did all menial jobs as he grew up to serve the society for the welfare activities)…..” recalls Dhanpati of her son, who is now UP’s deputy CM Keshav Maurya, a key part of BJP, a former Phulpur MP, state president and instrumental non-Yadav OBC figure, under whose watch the party made big gains.
None of the attention Keshav Maurya receives makes a difference to her as she remains a recluse, sitting on a plastic chair on a crumbling cement patio of her brick-and mortar home merging into a small farm, with tall bushes.
The family’s home — with agricultural tools like sickles, chaff cutters, has been like this for more than 40 years. Much like her routine for decades, she daily tends fields where she grows garlic, coriander, radish, soya and nimua (green leafy vegetable).
But the frenzy has returned to Sirathu as Keshav is contesting from this village, from where he won in 2002, 2007 and 2012. Sirathu goes to polls as part of fifth phase on Sunday, February 27.
“I feel happy that he work for greats like PM Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. Just like he once worked for other greats like then CM Babuji Kalyan Singh, Vajpayee ji and others..I only believe he continues to work,” she says.
She parries the query on whether BJP would question the 300-mark again, a feat that had put BJP into a different orbit in 2017 or whether Keshav would become a cM again.
“Ab yeh toh uparwale ke haath mai….jo maalik ka man hoga wahi hota ha….,” she says with an unmistakable warmth.
The gregarious senior breaks into an impromptu laughter when asked if she would ever settle in Lucknow with her son at his official residence in Lucknow.
“Sab log wahan chale jayenge, toh gaaon kaun rahega. Hum log gaaon mai rehne waale hai, bhaiya” she says.
The family’s spirit is that of unity and humility, much like the template that the BJP follows.
While Keshav’s elder son Yogesh got married last year and looks after looks business activities like a city hospital and school, his elder son Ashish, who is studying civil engineering at BITs Pilani, is even quieter.
“Our father never taught us to amass riches or live an extravagant life. I take in my pride that my grandfather sold tea or my father sold newspapers. I may have no interest in politics and we follow BJP’s one family, one member rule. But I am happy that I am his son who can help him grow and see his progress as he serves society whether build the Ram Temple, roads, bridges,” says Ashish.
Maurya’s niece Nishu, sporting a saffron suit, looks as much content with the polling so far in four phases as much she’s excited to follow the footsteps of her uncle.
“Since he doesn’t have a daughter, he considers me as one. We saw the poverty which is still part of her life. Our job is to work hard and we seek blessings of our deity. My grandmother Dhanpati ji still feeds cows and never trusts any domestic help or us till she does the daily work by herself,” says Nishu.