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The Rediff Special/ Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi
Give Madame Mayawati credit
March 09, 2009
Indians who disrespect, disregard or harbour political allergy for Ms Mayawati [Images], chief of the Bahujan Samaj Party, have an opportunity to redeem their biases. As of today, most political experts outline two possibilities while predicting the Lok Sabha election outcome.
One, the Congress may get an edge over other parties by getting at least 20-25 seats more than its nearest rival and thereby may be in position to cobble together new alliances after the election, disregarding past bickering, ideology and everything else.
The second probability is that Mayawati with, say, 50 seats (Uttar Pradesh [Images] plus Punjab, Madhya Pradesh [Images] and other states), and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief Jayalalitha (say with 30+ seats) or any other party or political bloc (non-BJP/non-Congress) able to get 35+ seats will dominate the post-election scenario to indulge in the exercise to form one of the most incestuous political coalitions in New Delhi [Images].
Meanwhile, the BJP silently wishes that the Congress party's 'confidence' turns out to be 'over-confidence'.
Within the Congress, some leaders argue that if a weak 'alternative front' government comes to power, the party may see it as an opportunity to rebuild itself amidst the 'chaos' to pave a stronger road to power under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi [Images].
In short, the current chaotic news of breaking of alliances or cementing of existing or new alliances will remain on fluid political ground considering the no-holds-barred race to form coalitions post-election.
In view of it, if you encounter Mayawati in a strong position to seek her due in the centre-point of Indian politics on the evening of May 16, 2009 (the day election results will be announced), give her credit for sewing the unbeatable caste alliance within her party, says a New Delhi-based loyalist of the UP chief minister.
Mayawati announced the names of candidates for the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Utter Pradesh long ago. The BSP supremo is now making minor changes as the Congress and Samjwadi Party announce their candidates, he adds.
Last week, after losing the assembly by-election in Bhadohi, Mayawati has changed the Lok Sabha candidates of Bhadohi, Hardoi, Mirzapur and Kaiserganj.
Mayawati's ambition to take control at the Centre came to the forefront after her victory in the May 2007 UP assembly election. Since then, she has been strategising for the Lok Sabha election, which handed her the advantage of being an 'early bird'. Her two slogans are UP hui hamari hai, ab Delhi ki baari hai (UP is now ours, next is Delhi) and Gali, gali main macha hai shor, haathi chala Delhi ki aur (Every bylane echoes the elephant's march to Delhi).
One should not be surprised to know that Mayawati is turning out to be one of the most pragmatic leaders of India. Out of 80 Lok Sabha seats from UP, her caste/community combination for 2009 election will be somewhat like this: Dalits, 18 to 20 seats (18 reserved constituencies included); Brahmins, 25 seats; and Muslims, 20 to 23 seats.
Mayawati is also focussing on breaking the Muslim-Yadav combination of the Samajwadi Party. SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's [Images] desperate visit to Doeband on March 4 made this evident. All leading Hindi newspapers splashed photos of Mulayam capitulating before senior Islamic teachers of Deoband with embarrassing photo credits.
A Mayawati loyalist sums it up for rediff.com: Hamari madame sarkar se zyada party chalati hai (Our Madame runs the party more than the government).
My gardener Raghav, who comes to work on a bicycle from a village situated 13 km from the Delhi-UP border, gave me 'balushahi' (a UP delight) last month because his family had been given pattas of cultivable land of three acres by the revenue department.
I asked him, who gave you this land? 'Madame Mayawati ne diya (Madame Mayawati gave it),' was Raghav's reply.
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