New Delhi: Playing the caste card, this time in favour of upper caste voters in Bihar, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati on Tuesday promised reservation for upper caste poor in jobs and education.

The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister was addressing a campaign rally ahead of the second phase of the Bihar assembly elections, scheduled for 16 October.

“The upper caste poor have a similar socio-economic condition as that of the people belonging to the lower castes. If elected to power, my party will ensure that even they get quotas in jobs and educational institutions," Mayawati told a rally in Sasaram.

Mayawati also blamed the central government for worsening poverty in the country through its economic policies.

“These policies have not only impacted the country but have had an adverse impact on the poor and the middle class section of Bihar as well," she said.

Taking a dig at the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Mayawati said, “This party is only working towards the development of corporates."

She said none of the anti-poverty schemes introduced by either the NDA or the previous United Progressive Alliance government at the centre have been effective.

The Bihar elections will see the BSP pitted against its arch rival Samajwadi Party, which recently formed the Samajwadi Secular Morcha or Third Front along with six other parties, including the Nationalist Congress Party, after it left the Grand Alliance early in September.

The BSP is contesting all 243 seats in the Bihar elections.

However, even though the party commands a strong following among Dalits in Uttar Pradesh, it does not have a stronghold in Bihar. In the 2010 assembly elections, the BSP failed to win a single seat out of the 239 it contested, and in 2005 it won two.

PTI contributed to this story.

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