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Maya vows to follow Mandela

Citing the SA leader's example, the BSP leader said, "Despite being jailed for 27 yrs, Mandela didn't abandon his cause. Similarly, I won't leave BSP even if I'm jailed for life".

india Updated: Nov 24, 2003 00:47 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

Targetting both the BJP and Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) national president Mayawati on Sunday said her party is not casteist.

She also assured her party workers that she would never quit the BSP and join BJP.

In a bit subdued tone while addressing a small gathering of BSP supporters here at TT Nagar Dussehra Maidan on Sunday, Mayawati asked the voters to help achieve two aims of the party. She asked them to defeat the BJP candidates in the 70 constituencies where the BSP has not fielded its candidates.

"You have to stop the BJP from coming to power at all cost as in 1998," she said.

Significantly, she did not ask her supporters to vote for the Congress candidate in the 70 seats.

"You should vote any candidate capable of defeating the BJP, even if he is an independent."

Mayawati said the second aim of the BSP was to stop the Congress from retaining power.

"You should aim at achieving absolute majority on the 160 seats being contested by the BSP. This would keep the Congress from coming to power again," she said.

She said she would not leave the BSP ever in her life. She cited South African leader Nelson Mandela's example and said despite being incarcerated in prison for 27 years, he did not abandon his cause. "Similarly, I would not leave the BSP even if I am imprisoned for life," she said, accusing the BJP of "harassing" and "exerting pressure on her" to quit the BSP and join the BJP or merge the BSP with the BJP.

Naming Samata Samaj Party (SSP) president Phool Singh Baraiyya, she alleged that he had "sold" himself to 'Manuwadi' forces.

Stating that the BSP is not casteist, Mayavati said the party has fielded forward caste and OBC candidates on a number of seats.

"I am in favour of an egalitarian society. The doors of the BSP are open for the forward castes and OBCs who want to support the party."

First Published: Nov 24, 2003 00:36 IST