Mayawati says BSP to go it alone in assembly, LS polls; calls for return to ballot paper

The BSP and the SP had forged an alliance in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Of the alliance partners, the BSP was the biggest gainer with 10 seats.

January 15, 2023 04:42 pm | Updated 04:42 pm IST - LUCKNOW

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Chief Mayawati | File Photo

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Chief Mayawati | File Photo | Photo Credit: PTI

Bahujan Samaj Party Chief Mayawati on Sunday ruled out an alliance with any party for the assembly polls in various states and the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

She also made a strong pitch for the use of ballot papers in elections.

Key states of Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Telangana would go to polls this year, besides states from the northeast.

Speaking to reporters here on her 67th birthday, the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister said, "I would like to make it clear that in the assembly elections of Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan and in the Lok Sabha elections, which will be held next year, the BSP will not forge a coalition with any party and will contest the polls on its own strength."

Ms. Mayawati said it became necessary for her to make the announcement as the Congress and some other parties, as part of a "conspiracy", are allegedly trying to create an impression that they will be forging an alliance with the BSP.

"In electoral alliances forged once or twice in Uttar Pradesh and other states, barring Punjab, their (allies) votes were not transferred to us, due to which the BSP suffered losses," she said.

"Hence, our party has decided to contest the assembly polls and Lok Sabha polls on its own," she said.

The BSP and the Samajwadi Party (SP) had forged an alliance in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Of the alliance partners, the BSP was the biggest gainer with 10 seats. Akhilesh Yadav's SP won five seats and the smallest of the partners, Rashtriya Lok Dal, couldn't open its account.

Ms. Mayawati exuded confidence that her party's vote base is intact.

"As far as the vote base of the BSP is concerned, it has not eroded. But sometimes there are other sections such as OBCs, minorities and upper castes who get misled due to poll promises. The party had to suffer losses in the last elections," she said.

The BSP chief said electronic voting machines (EVMs) should be replaced with ballot papers.

"There are doubts in the minds of people regarding EVMs and there is an apprehension that they maybe prone to glitches," she said.

"The CEC (chief election commissioner) and the Centre should come forward and hold elections using ballot papers. It will be known how many voters are with them and how many voters are with us," she said.

Ms. Mayawati further said the BSP was formed on April 14, 1984, and till the time ballot papers were used in elections, neither the party's vote percentage nor the support for it came down and its seats also increased.

"However, since EVMs started being used in elections, our vote percentage has been affected and there is some foul play," she alleged.

Ms. Mayawati said the BSP is a well-wisher of the people of the 'bahujan samaj' and the main aim of her party is to achieve their social and economic goals by winning elections on the strength of brotherhood of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and Muslims.

Attacking Congress, BJP and SP over reservation, she said they did not fulfil their constitutional responsibilities.

"The Congress, when it was in power, did not allow implementation of the Mandal Commission report and made SC/ST reservation ineffective. The BJP is following in the footsteps of the Congress in this case," she said.

"The Samajwadi Party government in the state did not give rights to the people from the extremely backward castes and cheated them. The SP government removed 17 castes from the OBC list and put them on the SC list due to which they were deprived of OBC reservation.

"The SP government ended reservation in promotion in the state and tore the bill in the Parliament," she said.

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