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No star politician for BSP campaign

delhi Updated: Mar 07, 2009 22:27 IST
Atul Mathur
Atul Mathur
Hindustan Times
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Attempting to project itself as a formidable third force in Delhi, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) might be trying hard to dent both the Congress and Bhartiya Janata Party’s vote bank.

But for the coming Lok Sabha polls, the party will have to make do without the experience of its seasoned politicians from Uttar Pradesh to help it consolidate its vote share in the Capital.

In last year’s assembly elections in the Capital, BSP supremo and UP chief minister Mayawati had deputed a number of senior ministers from UP to campaign in the 70 assembly seats in Delhi. The strategy proved successful as the party
managed to win two assembly seats and came second on five seats garnering 14.5 per cent of the total vote share.

But this time around, BSP sources say that this won’t happen. A majority of senior leaders are busy this time around in their own constituencies in UP.

“The party has left it to little known local leaders to manage the campaign in Delhi,” said a senior BSP leader.
According to party sources, 18 ministers, 50 MLAs and half-a-dozen Member of Parliament camped in Delhi for almost two months during the assembly elections to help the party candidates with campaigning.

“This time all those leaders will be busy in elections in their respective constituencies. Being the most important state for the party, services of all these leaders will be required here. Delhi is definitely not the priority where Congress and BJP are the main contenders and other parties have just a slim chance of winning,” a Delhi BSP leader said.

So this time around, apart from Mayawati’s two most trusted leaders, Rajya Sabha MP Satish Chand Mishra and UP PWD Minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui, who are supervising the overall election strategy for the BSP, just two leaders from UP — Gutiyari Lal Dwivedi, an MLA from Agra, and Naushad Ali, chairman of UP Minority Commission — have been assigned election duties in Delhi.

“Delhi has been divided into three parts. While Ali has been given the responsibility of Chandni Chowk, West and North West Delhi parliamentary constituencies, Dwivedi has been assigned East, North East, South and South West Delhi Constituencies,” said a Delhi state leader said.

One of the candidates from Delhi accepted that the party has yet to make its mark in the Capital and its local leaders do not have the kind of national image and perspective required during the Lok Sabha elections. “This might harm us this time,” he said.