The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mayavati shuns BJP at Centre

New Delhi, Oct. 3: Scotching all speculation, Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayavati today ruled out joining the National Democratic Alliance at the Centre or having any electoral pact with the BJP outside Uttar Pradesh for the Lok Sabha polls.

Mayavati said her party’s tie-up with the BJP for the general elections “is restricted only to Uttar Pradesh” and added that there was “no plan at the moment to forge a national-level seat sharing”.

A section of BJP leaders had floated the idea of forging an alliance with the BSP in the Hindi heartland — especially in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab — where Congress governments are in power. It appears that the BSP has a different strategy.

Sources said BSP chief Kanshi Ram had recently met Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to discuss electoral tactics. They said the plan was the BSP would field the maximum number of Dalit candidates in Congress strongholds to cut into the latter’s vote bank.

Mayavati asserted that BSP-BJP ties were stronger now. Asked if the coalition would meet the same fate as in the past, she said that last time the alliance had broken down because of Kalyan Singh, who was chief minister then. “If the BJP high command would have listened to me and replaced him, the alliance would have continued,” she said.

The Uttar Pradesh chief minister, who was addressing a news conference, said she would expand her Cabinet this month after consulting the BJP. Mayavati said she had planned to expand her council after the September 28 BSP-BJP rally in Lucknow. “But now we feel that first we should deal with the problems arising after the stampede tragedy.”

Asked if her refusal to issue a fresh notification to revive the trial against deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and others in the Ayodhya demolition case would erode the support of the minorities, the chief minister replied in the negative.

Mayavati pointed out that her party had won all byelections, including the Bahedi Assembly seat earlier held by the Samajwadi Party, ever since it came to power in the state with BJP support.

The chief minister condemned the desecration of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in Meerut and said those involved in the vandalism would not be spared.

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