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Mayawati begins preparing for Lok Sabha polls, may contest from Ambedkarnagar

Mayawati had represented the seat in Lok Sabha in 1998, 1999 and 2004.

india Updated: Mar 26, 2018 09:56 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Mayawati,2019 Lok Sabha polls,Bahujan Samaj Party
BSP supremo Mayawati during a rally in Chandigarh on March 5.(HT File Photo)

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati has started preparing for the Lok Sabha election next year and she may contest from Uttar Pradesh’s Ambedkarnagar, a party leader familiar with the development said.

If she does contest the elections, it will mark a tactical shift from her earlier policy of not contesting polls herself in order to focus on the party organisation.

“The 2019 Lok Sabha election is crucial for the BSP to revitalise the party cadres, who are demoralised after three successive defeats — 2012 assembly election, 2014 Lok Sabha poll and 2017 assembly election. The BSP chief is likely to lead the fight by contesting from Ambedkarnagar,” a BSP leader said.

Mayawati had represented the seat in Lok Sabha in 1998, 1999 and 2004.

The BSP had announced that she will not contest any election to focus on strengthening the party across the country after becoming the national president of the BSP in 2003. She vacated the Akbarpur Lok Sabha seat, now renamed as Ambedkarnagar, in 2004.

“The announcement will be made after the alliance with the SP (Samajwadi Party) is finalised,” another senior BSP leader, who did not wish to be named, said.

Mayawati said last Saturday that the defeat in the Rajya Sabha election will not affect the SP-BSP alliance. She also made it clear that instead of the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha bypolls, her party will focus on the 2019 general elections.

In view of the alliance with Akhilesh Yadav’s party, the candidates will be finalised after the coalition partners decide the seat-sharing formula.

Read: New caste arithmetic in SP-BSP combine may upset BJP’s calculations in Uttar Pradesh

“Behenji (Mayawati) has started screening aspirants for various Lok Sabha seats. The ticket aspirants, who get the nod, will be made in-charge of their Lok Sabha constituencies,” the party leader also said.

Mayawati had also indicated on Saturday that she was not averse to the Congress joining the alliance.

The BSP was the runner-up in 34 constituencies in the 2014 Lok Sabha election but failed to win a single seat. The party is likely to field its candidate on these seats and leave the remaining 46 for the alliance partners, party leaders indicated.

The BSP will also bargain for about six seats in which it was in a neck-and-neck fight with the SP in 2014, those familiar with the issue said. The SP won five seats.

Although the BSP lost the Ambedkarnagar seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, it won three assembly seats that are part of the parliamentary constituency in 2017, which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had swept.

In a departure from its stand of not allying with any party, the BSP successfully backed the Samajwadi Party (SP) candidates against the BJP in the Gorakhpur and Phulpur parliamentary seats earlier this month.

It was for the first time that the BSP entered into an alliance since the 1996 assembly elections. After its alliance partner Congress failed to transfer its votes to the BSP in the 1996 polls, Mayawati had announced that her party will go it alone in all elections in the future.

The success in the bypolls has already heightened the possibility of a more elaborate alliance between the BSP and the SP ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Mayawati resigned from the Rajya Sabha in July last year.

She fielded former party MLA Bhimrao Ambedkar, who went on to lose to the BJP’s Anil Agarwal, although there was a speculation that she would contest the biennial election to the Rajya Sabha.

Read: Akhilesh signals solidarity with Mayawati, cancels victory celebration after BSP loses Rajya Sabha seat

First Published: Mar 26, 2018 09:55 IST