While refuting media reports about her plans to contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha election, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati on Thursday went all out to woo the state’s Muslims, by training her guns at the entire brigade along with its prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi.
Exuding confidence that her party would strike the balance of power in the post-poll scenario, she ruled out the possibility of any kind of alignment with the Bharatiya Janata Party or its allies. Besides lambasting the BJP and its bandwagon as “communal forces”, she even went to the extent of terming her arch political foe the Samajwadi Party and the BJP as two sides of the same coin -- obviously knowing how in the aftermath of the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, a large section of Muslims had voiced their disillusionment with Mulayam.
In a bid to wean away a good chunk of the state’s 20 per cent Muslim voter from Mulayam Singh Yadav-led SP, Mayawati added, “There is some kind of an underhand deal between Mulayam and the BJP top leadership and both of them were bent upon forging a communal divide.”
She gave out the list of her party’s candidates for each of the 80 UP Lok Sabha seats. “Besides UP, we will contest for seats in all states where BSP has a foothold,” she said, while declining to specify the states.
Declaring that she would launch her party’s poll campaign from March 22, she said, “I propose to spend 90 per cent of my time in UP where I propose to address my first election rally in Bijnore on April 3; subsequent to that I will go on holding rallies in different UP constituencies until May 8.”
Flatly denying reports appearing in a section of the media about her intent to contest the LS poll, she termed stories about her fielding of her close aide Satish Chandra Misra and Naseemuddin Siddiqui too as “fallacious and mischievous.”
Asked why she had chosen to remain out of the electoral fray when every other top political leader was contesting, the BSP chief shot back, “I am in the Rajya Sabha so why must I contest ?”
When her attention was drawn to leaders who had taken the plunge despite being members of the upper house, she came up with yet another alibi -- “I am required to campaign across the length and breadth of the country”, before dismissing her press conference and speeding away in the awaiting car from her party state headquarter here.
According to her, “Mulayam’s decision to contest from Azamgarh, which lies in close proximity to Varanasi from where Modi was contesting in addition to his existing Mainpuri seat was part of his design in collusion with the BJP so that together they could to communalise the atmosphere and take political mileage out of that.”
In the same vein, she emphasised “but we are here to keep a check on both these parties; and I have also written letters to the election commission to keep an eye on the nefarious designs of the SP-BJP nexus.”
While ruling out the possibility of any pre-poll alliance or understanding with any other political outfit, she refused give details of her plans to fulfil her dream of heading the next government in New Delhi.
“All I wish to point out is that my party will not take any kind of support under any circumstances from the BJP; I wish to make it loud and clear that in order to form a government we will align with secular forces alone.”
When a scribe sought to know if for that matter, she was inclined to take the support of SP , an angry Mayawati shot back, “I do not consider SP or Mulayam secular , so there is no question of accepting support from him or his party.”
When her attention was drawn to her past alignment on three different occasions with the BJP, with whose support she became chief minister of the state, she sought to clarify, “We neither took the BJP’s support on their terms nor did we compromise on our fundamental policies based on secular ideals.”
She added, “Mind you, when I found that they were trying to push their communal agenda through my government I walked out of the government; remember I was the one who pulled out of the alliance.”
Image: BSP chief Mayawati at the press conference.
Photograph: Sandeep Pal