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BSP vying to be 'third force' in poll-bound states

Aasha Khosa in New Delhi | November 10, 2008 13:15 IST

As the analysts were exploring common links in the rise of Barack Obama [Images] as the United States President and the Mayawati [Images] phenomenon back home, the Bahujan Samajwadi Party chief was busy finalising her caste-based plans for the coming Assembly elections.

The BSP, which had romped home in Uttar Pradesh [Images] last year, is planning to contest Assembly elections in all the constituencies in the five states -- Delhi [Images], Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh [Images], Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir [Images] -- going to polls in November and December. Unable to find feuding social castes in Mizoram, which is also going to polls this month-end, the party has decided against venturing in the North East for the time being.

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According to BSP sources, Mayawati's action plan involves playing on the existing differences between castes and communities in a given state. "This time, we are working towards emerging as an important third force in all these states," an MP from BSP said.

The party's efforts to repeat the winning formula of Uttar Pradesh, which was a strategic alliance between the traditional supporters of BSP -- Dalits -- and the upper caste Brahmins, in other states did not work. "Mishraji (Satish Chandra Mishra, political aide of Mayawati) had tried to hold Brahmin sabhas in Rajasthan much in advance. But nothing tangible came out of these," a senior party leader admitted.

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However, the party has now dangled the bait of reservation before the Gujjars while retaining its base among the rival Meena tribal community in Rajasthan.

Likewise, in Chhattisgarh, a recently-floated political party -- Godwana Ganatantra Dal, which promises to espouse the cause of the tribals, may prove to be a blessing in disguise for the BSP. The leaders feel the new party would wean away the traditional supporters of both the Congress and the BJP, thus giving an advantage to the BSP.

The rise and rise of the BSP

"The more the contestants, better it is for us," the BSP leader said. Similarly, the presence of Uma Bharti's Bharatiya Janshakti Party in Madhya Pradesh would play a spoiler for the BJP and Congress.

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