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Mayawati's googly: UP elections in mid-2011?

By Renu Mittal
Last updated on: February 27, 2011 22:40 IST
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In a move that could take her political opponents by surprise, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati is learnt to be working overtime to hold elections this year. This, say sources, will give little time for her political rivals to prepare for the polls.

For months now there has been a buzz in Lucknow and New Delhi that Mayawati is working towards a grand strategy to hold early elections by the end of 2011. But, her core group advisers claim that the Bahujan Samaj Party is all set for the elections, which may be held before the winter of 2011.  

Highly placed sources from the UP CM's core group of advisors, which include senior bureaucrats, claim that Mayawati is about to finalise her strategy for an early poll, with some sections suggesting that it could be as early as June or July. While she has already announced over 200 candidates for the upcoming assembly elections in UP, she has also commissioned intensive surveys, which will help her finalise the strategy. This includes caste surveys as well as candidate surveys. Sources say that following the surveys 150 out of her sitting 208 MLAs are in the line of fire and many of them may also be axed. 

Mayawati is sifting out criminal elements. Those politicians against whom there are criminal charges and who may be affecting her image may be shown the door, say sources.  

The UP CM is currently touring all the districts of UP and assessing the status of various welfare policies.  Sources say that she is personally monitoring the findings of the surveys and is using the latest scientific methods to assess the performance of her government. Leaving no stone unturned to ensure that she bags a second term as CM, Mayawati is also receiving feedback from her cadres at the grassroot levels to fine tune her campaign.

A major reason to advance the elections is because of the lack of the preparations by her political rivals namely the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party. The surveys show that majority of the population in the state is reluctant to back Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav as CM, say insiders.    

The Congress-led government at the Centre is caught in the charges of corruption and the unending saga of scams and is more focused on stablising its government in Delhi. The Bihar verdict has already damaged the prospects of the Congress in UP along with denting Rahul Gandhi's image as a leader who can win more votes.

Sources say Mayawati would like to capitalise on the Congress defeat in Bihar. Another advantage that she has is the absence of a vibrant Congress leadership in UP. The BJP also faces a similar problem with no charismatic leader to compete with Mayawati. Moreover, the party is unable to find its feet in UP and they are at the moment not prepared for the elections, say insiders.        

Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is Mayawati's main opponent, has not been unable to put his house in order. He is finding it difficult to find an effective strategy to counter Mayawati despite having expelled leaders like Amar Singh.

Sources say that Mayawati's extensive tour of numerous districts in UP has given her a positive feedback in terms of her support base and the lack of preparedness of her opponents.  She could spring a huge surprise by calling for an early poll, as she is all set to make a serious bid for power the second time around in the state.

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Renu Mittal in New Delhi
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