Swami Prasad Maurya, who quit the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh and is set to exit the BJP, now faces arrest over a hate speech he allegedly made in 2014. A warrant for his arrest has been put out in Sultanpur just a day after his resignation.

Mr Maurya had reportedly been asked to appear before the court in the case today but he did not show up. He has now been asked to appear before a court on January 24 in a case of inciting religious hate. He was in Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) at the time.

"Goddess Gauri or Lord Ganesha should not be worshipped during weddings. It is a conspiracy by upper caste-dominated system to mislead and enslave Dalits and backward castes," Mr Maurya had said at a gathering.

An earlier warrant for his arrest was put on hold by the Allahabad High Court in 2016. Since then there have been many hearings in the case.

On January 6, a Sultanpur court had asked him to appear today. When he did not, the court renewed his warrant.

Mr Maurya, a powerful backward caste leader, has delivered a huge blow to the BJP by quitting just before the Uttar Pradesh election. He has also threatened to take more ministers and MLAs with him; five have already resigned.

"My move has caused a bhuchaal (earthquake) in the BJP," he bragged this morning in an interview.

"I have only quit as a minister. I will quit the BJP soon. For now, I am not joining the Samajwadi Party," Mr Maurya said, teasing a big reveal on Friday.