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August 10, 1999
Mayawati to contest from Basti
Bahujan Samaj Party vice-president Mayawati will contest the Lok Sabha election from Basti reserved constituency in Uttar Pradesh.
In 1998 she had fought the election from Akbarpur reserved constituency in the state.
Releasing the list of all 85 party candidates from the state in Lucknow today, Mayawati, a former chief minister, did not specify the reason for changing her constituency.
The party's ideology and its resolve to win as many seats as possible was the criterion for selecting candidates, she pointed out.
Mayawati claimed that her party would fare best in the Hindi belt, which includes the states of Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
She said that for the first time the party has given tickets to 10 upper-caste candidates. It is also fielding 20 scheduled-caste candidates and 38 from the backward classes. The list also includes 17 Muslim candidates. Notably, Mohammed Izharul Haq is the party candidate fielded against the prime minister and Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from Lucknow, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The list contains just three women candidates -- former Miss India Naina Balsaver (Akbar Ahmed's wife) from Nainital, Talat Aziz from Maharajganj, and Mayawati herself.
In reply to a question, the BSP leader categorically denied that party chief Kanshi Ram would contest from anywhere in the country. "He is already a member of the Rajya Sabha. Moreover, he will have to look after all the candidates contesting from various constituencies," she said.
Among the party's prominent candidates in the electoral fray are Akbar 'Dumpy' Ahmed (Azamgarh), former Union minister Arif Mohammad Khan (Bahraich), former state ministers Rajendra Tripathi (Mirzapur-Bhadohi) and Gopal Ram Das (Almora).
Myawati said the BSP aims to get 10 per cent of the total Lok Sabha seats to be in a decisive position on the issue of government formation at the Centre.
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