Confident that her core support base of Dalits will not desert her in the coming Assembly elections, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati has placed her bets on the OBC-Muslim combination to return to power in the State.
On Sunday, she declared the list of all the 403 BSP candidates. She, however, said the list was final.
While 88 members of the Scheduled Castes have been given ticket (there are 85 reserved constituencies in the State), the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) account for 113 and Muslims 85. Brahmins follow next, with 74 nominatios and Kshatriyas (Thakurs) 33.
“Members of the Vaishya, Kayastha and Punjabi communities have also been represented in the list,” Ms. Mayawati told reporters at the BSP headquarters here. The day marked her 56th birthday.
Ms. Mayawati said the BSP would contest the polls in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab on its own and would not have truck with any party.
This time, persons with clean image and those committed to the BSP's movement have been preferred while selecting candidates. Referring to the ticket distribution in 2007, she said ticket was given to wrong persons who hoodwinked “simple” party leaders and who pursued their selfish motives. Blaming these elements for defaming the BSP, Ms. Mayawati said they were also responsible for “corrupting” the old and committed leaders of the party.
The Chief Minister said she was compelled to take action against several Ministers and MLAs, who “have also been denied ticket.” Their activities threatened to derail the BSP movement. “Commitment to the BSP movement has been given top priority in deciding the candidates' names,” she noted. Representation had been given to “sarv samaj” (all sections of society) in ticket distribution.
Interestingly, unlike in the 2007 polls, this time there was no mention of the ‘social engineering' formula (broadly understood as a combination of Dalits and Brahmins). It was a key component that was responsible for the formation of the Mayawati government in May 2007. ‘Social engineering' has been substituted by ‘sarv samaj' as Ms. Mayawati aims to retain power this year.
A 28-page signed appeal to voters in a booklet form was released by Ms. Mayawati on the occasion — the BSP does not release election manifesto.
In her appeal, the BSP president has asked people, particularly the cadres, to ensure the formation a BSP government on the principle of ‘sarvjan hitaya, sarvjan sukhaya.'