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Kick-off from Kerala: Maya message to Front

BSP will try to form next Govt on its own, says chief as she launches campaign in Left’s backyard. Nagendar Sharma reports.

india Updated: Mar 22, 2009 03:04 IST
Nagendar Sharma
Nagendar Sharma
Hindustan Times

A day after Left Front leaders showered praises on BSP chief Mayawati, she surprised them by launching her party’s campaign for the Lok Sabha elections from Left stronghold Kerala.

“Mayawati is a prominent candidate for the post of prime minister…she will never join hands with the BJP again,” CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan had said on Friday.

The comments were intended to keep the Uttar Pradesh chief minister in good humour, since she is being seen as the Third Front’s best bet for the top post.

The Left tried hard to forge a pre-poll alliance with the BSP, but Mayawati was not agreeable to it. The next attempt was to stay away from each other’s strongholds, but the BSP supremo’s decision to begin the campaign with a rally in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday dashed all hopes of the Left.

The BSP has decided to go it alone in the elections and has put up candidates on all 20 seats in Kerala and all 42 in West Bengal.

At the rally in Thiruvananthapuram, Mayawati did not mention her ties with the Third Front even once.

“Our party will try to form the next government at the Centre on its own. We want to reverse the anti-people policies being pursued by successive governments since 61 years,” she told the gathering.

Slamming the Congress and the BJP, she told her supporters: “Ours is the only party that is opposed to the rich and the landlords, and we don’t take funds from them like the big parties.”

Mayawati projected the Uttar Pradesh government as the BSP model of governance. “You give us a chance and we will implement the welfare policies at the national level as is being done in UP.”

The BSP has never won either an assembly or a Lok Sabha seat from Kerala, but the party has been concentrating on the southern state recently. Mayawati has been consistently touring the state.

BSP leaders say the party has been able to consolidate the Dalits and Muslims in Kerala. The launching of the campaign from the southern state was an attempt to project the presence of the party across many parts of the country, they said.

“I decided to begin the election campaign from Kerala,” was Mayawati’s brief response to reporters without explaining the reason.

She has already made it clear to the leaders of the Third Front that the number of seats would decide the composition of the next government, and she would take a call on any understanding after the results are announced on May 16.