Mayawati, who has dismissed the Uttar Pradesh assembly election results and said tampering of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) was responsible for her party’s poor showing, announced on Wednesday the BSP will launch a nationwide agitation on the issue from April 11.
“The BSP workers will organise dharna and demonstrations in Lucknow as well as other district headquarters on the 11th of every month to observe March 11, the day of UP election results, as a black day,” the Bahujan Samaj Party chief said while addressing a press conference in Lucknow.
Mayawati, a former chief minister of the state who was expected to grab a substantial share of the votes, blamed EVMs for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) unexpected bumper victory in India’s largest state and shot off a complaint to the Election Commission to cancel the election results.
The poll panel, however, wrote to BSP’s national general secretary Satish Misra saying it found no merit in the allegations, and the “prayers made in your letter are not legally tenable”.
Mayawati rejected the EC’s reply on her demand for a probe into EVM tampering and said her party will file a petition in the court on this issue.
“BJP leaders are maintaining an ominous silence on my allegations. The BJP won the election through manipulation. The day assembly election results were announced, democracy was virtually murdered. EVMs were tampered to transfer the BSP votes to BJP,” she said.
“BJP leaders know they have adopted illegal means to win the election. That is why the usual glow and smile is missing from their faces. If the BJP has the guts to contradict my allegation, they should support my demand for re-polling through ballot paper system,” she added.
Accusing the media of biased reporting, she said journalists were virtually writing the obituary of the BSP and saying the BJP’s victory signified the end of her party.
“Media persons have seen huge crowds in my public meetings. How can they say it is the end of the road for the BSP? They should tell the people how BJP manipulated the election,” she said.
The BSP chief also condemned post-poll discussions on election results, saying the power-brokers were singing paeans for the BJP in discussions organised by various channels “for the lust of money”.
“I want to make it clear to the media that the BJP did not manipulate election results in smaller states like Punjab, Goa and Manipur as they would have to do a lot of explanation. They tampered EVMs in UP and Uttarakhand. Media should highlight the BJP’s misdeeds,” she said.
Mayawati added she had called a meeting of her party’s national executive committee to discuss the strategy for the agitation.
Earlier, Mayawati visited Kanshi Ram memorial to pay tribute to the BSP founder on his 83rd birth anniversary.
Invoking Kanshi Ram and Dr BR Ambedkar, she said, “Both the leaders worked for the empowerment of Dalits. They called upon the suppressed community to grab the keys of political power by forming a government in the state and at the Centre. Only then the have-nots can hope for justice.”
“If the BJP returns to power at the Centre in 2019 Lok Sabha election, it would scrap reservation in government jobs for SC/ST category. They do not want Dalits and tribals to become self-reliant. The saffron brigade is using all the tricks to keep Dalits and tribals out of power,” she alleged.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has also alleged that large-scale irregularities in EVMs had transferred a fourth of the Aam Aadmi Party’s votes to opponents in Punjab, demanding that the EC rethink using paper ballots in future elections.
Leaders of Congress and Samajwadi Party have supported Mayawati’s demand for a probe into EVMs used in the UP assembly polls and asked the EC to seriously look into her charges.