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Maya to go it alone

Mayawati

Lucknow, March 20: Mayawati is not interested in talking to Mamata Banerjee or Jayalalithaa, at least not before the elections.

“There is no question of holding talks with Mamata Banerjee or Jayalalithaa. I told you my party is contesting elections in the entire country. Wherever I have fielded candidates, I am going on my own. Under the circumstances, why should I talk to anyone now?” the Bahujan Samaj Party chief said today, in reply to a question.

She was speaking to journalists after releasing her party’s list of candidates for all 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh, where the contest is seen to be between the BSP and the BJP.

“I will use all my strength to stop the communal forces. The decision to field Narendra Modi is aimed at consolidating the communal politics in Uttar Pradesh. My party will equally fight to stop Congress-led UPA from coming to power again,” she said.

“Right now my party wants to act as a balance of power. When it emerges as balance of power, we will take the help of secular parties for forming the government,” Mayawati further said, without naming any party. She, however, clarified that she does not consider arch rival Samajwadi Party as secular.

Mamata had earlier this month said on television that she was open to working with Jayalalithaa and Mayawati after the elections. “What is wrong? Nothing is wrong. If Nitish (Kumar) ji wants to become Prime Minister I will be happy; Jayalalithaa, yes; Mayawati, yes; Mulayam (Singh Yadav), yes. What is wrong? Anybody can think,” the Bengal chief minister had said.

The AIADMK chief had later called her up and spoken to her for several minutes.

BSP sources said Mayawati was planning to field some candidates in Tamil Nadu, as she had done in 2009, and campaign for them. The sources said she might also field candidates in Bengal.

“I don’t know, she may or may not talk to other women leaders in the post-poll scenario. But Mayawati is wary of Mamata for she had come on a common platform with Mulayam Yadav on the choice of President once,” said a BSP general secretary, who asked not to be named.

Mayawati, who had been offering outside support to UPA II, said through her “inclusive” politics, she would reach out to people on her own “without any electoral alliance or understanding of any kind with any party”.

In a 24-page booklet titled Appeal to Voters, she has argued why it is important “not to vote” for the Congress, the BJP and the Samajwadi Party, which is “not a secular party but a secret BJP ally”.

Mayawati is not focusing her energies on Varanasi, choosing to field a 44-year-old trader from the temple town, Vijay Prakash Jaiswal, and ending speculation that she would send her party’s Brahmin face, Satish Chandra Mishra, to battle Modi.

Of the remaining 79 candidates, 21 are Brahmins, eight Thakurs and 19 Muslims. The attempt seems to be to split the upper castes that are showing the signs of tilting towards a resurgent BJP. Only seven of the 80 tickets have gone to women.

Unlike the Samajwadi Party, which has not fielded anyone from Rae Bareli and Amethi the seats held by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, the BSP is contesting from here but has fielded political lightweights.