It was 5am when the phone rang. The BSP candidate from Maharajganj fumbled for his mobile, only to be jolted into consciousness upon hearing the voice at the other end. “Kya kar raha hai? Is samay to tujhe maidan mein hona chahiye (what are you doing? You should have been in the field at this hour”), said the voice. It was party boss and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati.
“She has her own style of keeping a tab on party workers, co-ordinators and candidates,” said a secretariat official.
Strangely for some, while star campaigners of major political parties are chasing each other on the campaign trail Mayawati herself is yet to hit the road.
She will first campaign in Punjab, BSP founder Kanshi Ram’s birthplace, on January 21 and 22, followed by Uttarakhand on January 23 and 24, after which she is supposed to address 69 meetings in Uttar Pradesh.
BSP leaders, however, claim there is nothing odd about the agenda because these two states are going to polls on January 30.
So for now the BSP chief, who is known for her election management skills, is working on the poll management at her Lucknow residence. She will start her campaign in UP on February 1 in Sitapur, and is currently gathering feedback and assessment not only from party co-ordinators but also from other sources like the BAMSEF (The All India Backward [SC, ST, OBC] and Minority Communities Employees). In fact much before the poll bugle was sounded, the BSP had organised cadre camps all over the state from July to November end.
Apparently party workers were given a target of mobilising 50 people for every camp and had to ensure that a certain percentage enrolled as members. Alongside, the bhaichara samitis were working on knitting caste alliances. Mayawati has been monitoring and reviewing their performances, issuing marching orders to non-performers. Even a senior leader like KK Gautam, zonal coordinator in Kanpur, has been shunted to Tamil Nadu on January 14.
The poll-managing structure has been hierarchically organised with committees at each level. Apparently she maintains thick registers of each and every district listing the party coordinators from booth to zonal level.
Each coordinator has a mobile, on which they can get a call directly from the party high command at any time of the day or night.
“Besides selecting the right candidate the BSP concentrates on booth management so that every vote is polled on D-day, said a party functionary. “Behenji tolerates no laxity.”