Home / Politics / Policy /  Mayawati looks beyond Uttar Pradesh for BSP’s expansion

New Delhi: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati on Sunday unveiled plans to expand the party’s reach in north India beyond Dalits to other castes and communities, saying it will contest assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana to be held in three years.

Mayawati was addressing a rally at Saharanpur ahead of the Uttar Pradesh assembly election expected in early 2017. In addition to Uttar Pradesh, the BSP also has a presence in Punjab and Uttarakhand in north India and will be contesting polls in these two states, also slated for 2017.

“After our party wins the Uttar Pradesh election in 2017, which I’m confident of, we will then focus on the neighbouring states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana."

“Not just Dalits, but even people from the Muslim and upper caste communities will be made the party’s chief ministerial candidates in these states," said Mayawati.

The term of the state governments in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana will end in 2019.

Analysts are of the opinion that Mayawati’s main motive behind the announcement is to reach out to voters from different communities and to boost morale of BSP workers.

“BSP has in the past fought elections in Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab but to no avail. So the plans of expansion just before the UP election are meant to boost the morale of party workers and project the BSP as a national party," said Ramesh Dixit, a Lucknow-based political analyst and former professor of Political Science at University of Lucknow.

The former UP chief minister in her fourth and last rally of the month—the other three were held in Agra, Azamgarh and Allahabad—raised issue of rising incidence of atrocities against Dalits and Muslims in the name of cow protection, love jihad and religious conversion.

“The incidents of Dadri in UP and Una in Gujarat are in front of you to see. Recently, Muslims were also targeted in Mewat in Haryana over the issue of cow meat while in Uttar Pradesh, the Muslims who were the victims of the Muzaffarnagar riots still have not received justice," she said.

In her rally, Mayawati also targeted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress for not delivering on their poll promises.

“The Congress ruled the state (UP) for more than 37 years but people only suffered under the party. Similarly, the promise of achhe din made by PM Narendra Modi during the 2014 Lok Sabha election have failed," she said.

Taking a dig at the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) for its decision to distribute free smartphones, she said, “We will not give you free mobiles but economic help and employment opportunities so that you can buy things that you actually need."

With a poor show of 80 out of 224 seats in the 2012 state assembly election in UP and a complete rout in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the BSP is now looking to make a comeback in the polls, riding on mounting anti-incumbency, especially discontent over the law and order situation.

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