Chief Minister Mayawati says the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will not contest any more by-elections for now - her party triumphed in the Domariyaganj assembly bypoll - as she wants to focus on the Uttar Pradesh polls in 2012.
"Henceforth, we will not contest any by-election until 2012 because I want everyone to remain focused on the next state assembly elections," Mayawati said in a circular issued on late Monday night.
The Congress' humiliating defeat in the Domariyaganj election Monday has proved to be a setback to Rahul Gandhi's much hyped Mission 2012. The Congress was not just relegated to the fifth position, but its nominee even lost his deposit despite the fact that the local MP is a Congress man.
Mayawati has now exhorted party functionaries across the state to devote all their energies to the assembly polls.
Significantly, the announcement comes at a time when two by-elections in Etah and Lakhimpur-Kheri are in the pipeline, following the death of the Samajwadi Party (SP) incumbents.
Earlier, she had kept her party away from local bodies elections and concentrated on the 2007 assembly polls, with the result that her party came to power on its own strength in the state.
Referring to the party's failure to do really well in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections when the party won only 20 seats in the state, Mayawati said: "After that, the opposition started writing off the BSP, but I am sure they have now seen what we are capable of."
She pointed out: "We have bagged as many as 13 of the 16 by-elections to different state assembly seats over the past three years and we have been virtually sweeping the elections to the Vidhan Parishad as well."
The party which had 207 seats in the 403 member assembly in 2007 today has a tally of 226 in the house. Likewise, its strength has gone up from 56 to 65 in the Vidhan Parishad, the upper house of the state legislature.
Evidently, the key parties she is targeting are the SP and Congress. However, the result of the Domariyaganj by-election has prompted her to alert her party men against the BJP, which had surprisingly done far better than the other two rival parties.
She pointed to the "increase in vote share" in Domariyaganj. "With a vote share of 30.17 per cent, the BSP has proved to be far ahead of its nearest rival BJP that polled only 19.43 per cent, followed by 14.73 per cent of the SP and 12.90 per cent of he Congress," she asserted.
To dispel the impression that Dalits were getting alienated from the BSP, she said: "Ninety per cent of the Dalits have voted for us."