Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati is back in the city after having completed electioneering though her rivals continued to toil on the trail a day before campaigning was to end for the final phase of UP assembly elections.
She monitored preparations for polling in 40 assembly constituencies on March 8 and gathered feedback from senior leaders from 363 assembly constituencies that have completed polling in six of the seven-phase election.
Confident of a comeback, Mayawati thanked the voters, party workers and office-bearers for their support.
The BSP chief launched her election campaign with a public meeting in Meerut on February 1 and concluded her campaign by addressing a rally in Varanasi, the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Saturday.
In these 32 days, she addressed 53 public meetings across the state, attacking both the PM and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
“Modi is trying to polarise the voters after he failed to fulfil the promise of ‘achhe din’ (good days),” she said at her rallies where she attacked the SP government of promoting jungle raj and lawlessness. ”Only the BSP government will free the state of goons and the mafiosi.”
Being her party’s star campaigner, she also addressed public meetings in Punjab and Uttarakhand where the BSP has fielded candidates on all the assembly seats.
As all the rallies drew large crowds, Mayawati, who sounded upbeat on Sunday, said in a statement, “The turnout in the meetings is a good sign for the party. The BSP will form the next government. Cutting across castes and communities, people have supported BSP in all six phases and the seventh phase will be no different.”
She claimed there was a tacit understanding between the SP and BJP. Whenever SP came to power, BJP expanded its base in UP. “It was only under BSP rule that the BJP’s support base has shrunk.”
“Modi is acting like Akhilesh’s uncle. Time has come for the people to get rid of the ‘chacha-bhatija’ (uncle-nephew) government at the Centre as well as the state,” she said.
Her attack on the Congress was, however, mild. Only on a few occasions did she target Rahul Gandhi. Fearing that the Congress alliance with the SP might cut into the Muslim vote bank, she had urged the Congress leadership to be cautious of going into a pre-poll alliance with the SP in January before Akhilesh and Rahul had joined hands.
When the Congress finalised its pact with the SP, she hit out at the grand old party, saying people will punish it for the tie-up.
Rahul Gandhi was also soft on the BSP chief. At a press conference in the city on January 29, he said he respected the BSP chief, but did not mince words about the party at public rallies.
Political analysts feel if the BSP emerges the single largest party, the Congress might rethink its alliance with the SP and extend support to Mayawati to stop the BJP.
Maywwati, who worked out the Dalit-Muslim formula in west and central UP, gave the largest chunk, 98 tickets, to Muslim candidates. In east UP, she focused on the upper castes and backward communities.