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Who will be BSP’s First Citizen?

BSP chief Mayawati says New Delhi is her destination after wresting Lucknow from almost all political parties, report Vinod Sharma & Saroj Nagi.

india Updated: May 13, 2007 05:21 IST

BSP chief Mayawati has said that New Delhi was her destination after wresting Lucknow from almost all political parties. And the first opportunity that she would get to drive home the point further is the Presidential election. Political analysts like DU’s Subrato Mukherjee argue that nothing will stop Mayawati from expanding her party’s base by propping up a candidate from a social group that isn’t yet part of her broadened constituency of Brahmins-Muslims-Dalits.

A similar point was made by CPM’s Sitaram Yechury after discussing the Presidential election with Sonia Gandhi on Saturday.

Probed on the possibility of Mayawati pushing for a Dalit in Rashtrapati Bhavan, he termed the query “too simplistic,’’ in the context of the BSP’s inclusive social approach that translated into major electoral gains.

The big question, however, would be whether Mayawati would choose to consolidate the UP mix or seek to add another major community to it by facilitating its representation in the highest constitutional office.

Regardless of Yechury’s desire for a candidate who would be most acceptable to secular formations that includes the SP, the casting vote may well be exercised by Mayawati as Mulayam Singh Yadav has withdrawn support to the UPA at the Centre. It will be interesting to watch whether the Marxists will be able to convince the SP to vote the same way as Mayawati for a broader consensus on the new President. For the present, however, one would have to go by SP general secretary Amar Singh’s pre-poll results statement that his party would not support a Congress nominee under any circumstance. It is a trifle early to say whether that would hold true for a joint UPA-Left-BSP candidate.

Accordingly, no names were discussed when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi separately met Left leaders and some UPA allies in the last few days.