Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati hit the campaign trail in Delhi on Sunday promising reservation for the economically weaker people among the upper castes.
Addressing a rally in Trilokpuri, a reserved assembly constituency in east Delhi, Mayawati also let everyone know of her bigger plan: to form the government at the Centre.
It’s Delhi assembly now, New Delhi Parliament later.
The BSP had no MLAs in the last Delhi assembly. But it is hoping to leverage its performance in the last Municipal elections when it won 17 seats to open its account this time, and handsomely.
The party is hoping to recreate the magic of Uttar Pradesh using the same combination of upper caste and lower caste votes that won her the state.
“It is the opposition parties which are spreading this misconception that the BSP is anti-upper caste,” said Mayawati addressing her first election rally in Delhi.
While the party may not win very many seats this time either, it can play the spoiler, especially for the Congress.
To push the deal with upper caste voters, Mayawati made party’s Rajya Sabha MP Satish Chandra Mishra, a Brahmin, address the rally ahead of her.
“I was a lawyer before I joined BSP,” said Mishra, who is also the national general secretary of the BSP. “Had the party been anti upper caste, I would not have got the prominence that I have today.”
“I joined BSP as it is based on the concept of sarvajan samaj (a society for all)," Mishra said to thunderous applause from a packed Ramlila Ground.
The same crowd managed an even louder applause when behenji, as Mayawati is called by her supporters, took the microphone. They forgot she had made everyone wait for three hours.
When she showed up, in a cream-coloured salwar-kameez, partymen fell over each other to touch her feet. They all got their chance. And one of them presented her a symbolic key to the Parliament. The message: BSP's time has come.