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Mayawati deeply worried after last phase of polling

May 14, 2014 14:52 IST

Mayawati deeply worried after last phase of polling

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow

The BSP boss left no stone unturned in running down Narendra Modi, particularly in the context of Muslims and OBCs. A large chunk of the 'most backwards' among the OBCs had been part of her vote bank.

What also made her anxious were reports of a sudden shift of a section of Dalits from the BSP to Modi. Sharat Pradhan reports from Lucknow.

The last phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh has become a cause of worry for the Bahujan Samaj Party that was hoping to cover its earlier political losses by scoring high in the 18 parliamentary constituencies in the state that went to the polls on May 12.

While the BSP won five out of these 18 seats in the 2009 election, it lost four seats with a very slender margin. Little wonder that BSP supremo Mayawati focused all her energies on these constituencies from where she was trying to retrieve what she has apparently lost in Western UP.

Even as she remained on low key throughout the election campaign, which she started rather late in the day, she began to be heard loud and clear all over the eastern corner of Uttar Pradesh, where her sworn rival the Samajwadi Party scooped away six seats in 2009, as against the Congress's four and the Bharatiya Janata Party's three.

Realising that large sections of the electorate in this region were Muslims, she went full steam against Narendra Modi, declaring that she would under no circumstances enter into any kind of alliance with the BJP.

Since the BSP has joined hands with the BJP at least three times, Mayawati made it a point to repeat her assertion several times.

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Image: BSP chief Mayawati at a rally in Lucknow.
Photographs: Jitendra Prakash/Reuters

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Sharat Pradhan

What rattled Mayawati even more was Modi's sudden reference to his Other Backward Class status. Even though Modi mentioned his OBC background in reaction to Priyanka Gandhi's neech rajniti remark, the BSP supremo went viral.

'Modi is a liar. He does not belong to the OBC, but got himself fraudulently listed as OBC after he became chief minister,' she told her audience at every rally she addressed in this region.

She challenged Modi to disclose which of the OBCs he belonged to. And when Modi refused to respond, she pointed out, 'If he were an OBC, Modi would have disclosed his sub-caste.'

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Image: Narendra Modi during his Varanasi roadshow.
Photographs: Sandeep Pal

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Sharat Pradhan

Somewhat late in the day realisation dawned on Maywati that the picture she had conceived for her party was not all that rosy.

A section of her Dalit vote bank appeared to have been bitten by the Modi bug in several pockets of Eastern UP. And sure enough, that was enough to rattle her.

She left no stone unturned in running down Modi, particularly in the context of Muslims and OBCs. A large chunk of the 'most backwards' among the OBCs had been a part of her vote bank.

What also made her anxious were reports of a sudden shift of a section of Dalits from the BSP to Modi. She could ill afford even a marginal loss of that vote bank over which she enjoyed complete sway for years.

The final phase of the 2014 election will determine if Mayawati's BSP will touch double digits.

Unless the BSP retains the five seats it won in 2009 in this part of Purvanchal, there is very little hope for Mayawati to be in a bargaining position in the event that the BJP fails to get the numbers on May 16.


Image: The last phase of the 2014 election will determine if Mayawati's BSP would touch double digits.
Photographs: Jitendra Prakash/Reuters

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