Tension was palpable as Bahujan Samaj Party workers on Saturday sparred with police and administration officials who allegedly tried to thwart attempts by the partymen to paint the city blue to celebrate the birth anniversary of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar on a grand scale on Sunday.
The police used mild force to disperse the BSP workers near the Ambedkar Memorial in Gomtinagar. The action was taken after large hoardings and cut-outs of Mayawati and dalit icons were installed on the main streets of the city and crossings.
Lucknow Municipal Corporation teams went out to clip many banners and pull down hoardings. It reportedly caused tensions at many spots with BSP workers turning confrontational. The drive was being carried out even during the night. The BSP leaders charged the state government with trying to disrupt the programme.
Leader of the opposition Swami Prasad Maurya said, "The increasing popularity of the BSP has made the state government panic and it is trying to sabotage the programme. The BSP cadres would give a befitting reply to the SP in the coming Lok Sabha election."
Meanwhile, party supremo Mayawati will gear up the party cadre for the Lok Sabha election in a meeting organised on the premises of the Ambedkar memorial on the occasion.
The party leaders and workers from the districts located adjacent to Lucknow are expected to participate in the meeting.
The return of RK Chaudhary to the party fold has boosted the morale of the cadre. The BSP hopes to gain in the Lucknow, Faizabad and Allahabad regions with the support of the Pasi community which Chaudhary belongs to.
A senior BSP leader said Mayawati is camping in Lucknow since a fortnight and reviewing preparations for the Lok Sabha election.
The BSP has already announced candidates for all the 80 LS seats and Mayawati is collecting feedback from zonal coordinators, as well as her loyalists about the performance as well as victory chances of the candidates. Weak candidates would be changed.
Mayawati is also working on the social engineering formula that brought her party to power in 2007. She has directed the state unit leaders to organise the meetings of the bhaichara (brotherhood) committees in all the assembly segments. The party leaders have been told to ensure participation of all the castes.