Predicting an early Lok Sabha election, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati on Tuesday called upon her supporters to get into the poll gear and start working towards expanding the party base to ride on to power at the Centre.
She was addressing a mammoth rally at the Rama Bai Ambedkar Maidan in Lucknow.
Convened to mark the sixth death anniversary of her mentor and BSP founder Kanshi Ram, the rally not only sounded a full-throated bugle for the parliamentary electoral battle scheduled in 2014, but was also clearly aimed at displaying BSP's rising strength, amply demonstrated in the several hundred thousand crowd that swarmed the entire area in and around the venue.
Even as speculation was rife that Mayawati would make a major announcement with respect to her party's support to the United Progressive Alliance, she postponed that to Wednesday.
"Let me tell you that in view of the scams that the central government has been embroiled and its anti-people policies, it is time that we review our decision about extending support to the UPA. We have, therefore, convened a meeting of our party national executive in Lucknow on Wednesday, when we will take a final call on this all important issue -- whether we could continue extending support to UPA or withdraw our support?" she pointed out.
The attendance at the rally, which included her supporters from states like Maharashtra, Rajasthan , Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Haryana, was meant to convey that even though she was voted out of power at the last Uttar Pradesh state elections, she continued to be a force to reckon with.
Her 90-minute long speech, which the audience heard with rapt attention, was loaded with frontal attacks on her successor Samajwadi Party government, on which she chose to pass all blame for every ill in Uttar Pradesh.
Even as she chose to selectively condemn and criticise the Congress-led UPA government, she did not spare the BJP either, yet it was the Samajwadi Party which remained her key target.
Without mincing words, she sought to make it loud and clear that her party's ultimate goal was to form a BSP government at the Centre.
"Both Congress and BJP have always deceived the downtrodden classes -- be it the dalits, the tribals, the OBCs or the poor among the upper castes. And their problems will be solved only by a BSP government in power at the Centre. Therefore take it as a mission to build a wider and stronger base in different states of the country from where you have come," she told the audience.
She said, "I can foresee the next Lok Sabha elections being held before schedule. Therefore it will be extremely important for you all to get down to business as soon as you get back to your respective places. Remember, we need to expand the base of our party so that we can achieve our ultimate goal of forming our own government at the Centre."
Alerting her supporters against the Congress, she warned, "You also need to guard against tricks that were bound to be played by the Congress-led UPA government once the general elections get closer; the central government will start giving sops to woo you. But you must not get carried away by such things, nor should you get influenced by the media, which also has a tendency to twist and distort facts about us."
"As far as FDI in retail is concerned, we have made it loud and clear to the UPA that we are not in favour of that. If the UPA claims that it will benefit the poor farmers, let them prove it; but until we can see results, we will continue to oppose FDI in retail."
"We condemn the UPA for the steep rise in diesel prices; it is not just farmers who were getting affected by it but it has hit all poorer sections of society. I would like to tell the Centre to take steps for improving the economic condition of the poor and the downtrodden, who have to face the entire brunt of their anti-people policies. The UPA government appears to be only looking after the concerns of the affluent," she added.