The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Whiff of Mayavati deal with Cong

New Delhi, Nov. 1: The Bahujan Samaj Party today announced that it will contest Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Delhi on its own with a motive to defeat the BJP.

“Our main objective is to stop the BJP from coming to power. We have decided not to field candidates where we are weak. Because if we contest from where we are weak, it will only benefit the BJP. We will tell our cadre to vote for the strongest candidate who can humble the BJP,” party chief Mayavati said today.

Although the BSP has not struck an alliance with the Congress, its plan of supporting the strongest candidates who can defeat the BJP, wherever the BSP is not contesting, smacked of a clandestine understanding.

However, true to her style, Mayavati kept the option of future bargaining open by remaining non-committal on backing any particular party after the elections. Asked if the BSP would extend support to the Congress if it fell short of numbers, Mayavati said she would decide after the polls keeping bahujan interest in mind.

She claimed that the BSP is a national party as its base is increasing across the country and it would contest polls on its own.

In 1998, the BSP had fielded candidates for a majority of the seats in the four states. But for the December 1 polls, the party plans to contest only seats it is confident about. The BSP will contest 160 of the 230 seats in Madhya Pradesh, 125 of the 200 in Rajasthan, 55 of the 90 in Chhattisgarh and 40 of the 70 in Delhi.

It means the Congress, being the BJP’s main rival, can expect indirect support from the BSP in 70 seats in Madhya Pradesh, 75 in Rajasthan, 35 in Chhattisgarh and 30 in Delhi, unlike the last time when the BSP had contested in most of the seats.

Besides preventing the BJP from wresting power, the BSP, by deciding to field candidates in its strongholds, seems keen to ensure that no party would be able to form the government without its support.

The detailed lists of candidates will be released at the respective state capitals by the party chiefs tomorrow. The Madhya Pradesh list will be announced on November 6 after Mayavati’s visit to Bhopal the day before.

Mayavati dismissed the splits in the Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan units as of no consequence. She said the party had split at least a dozen times, but each time it had emerged stronger. “The BSP, apart from being a political party, is a mission in itself, only missionaries (persons with missionary zeal) can stick with the party. They (the dissidents) will be taught a lesson by the people,” she said, alleging the plotters were bought over by the BJP.

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