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UP opposition alliance to hold 12 joint rallies to take on BJP

The decision was announced at the meeting of senior party leaders and office-bearers held under the chairmanship of Mayawati in the state unit office on Thursday, a day after Akhilesh Yadav called on the BSP chief at her residence in Lucknow.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Mar 15, 2019 08:44 IST
Rajesh Kumar Singh
Rajesh Kumar Singh
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
The first joint rally will be held in Deoband (Saharanpur)  in West UP on April 7, four days before the first phase of polling takes place on April 11.
The first joint rally will be held in Deoband (Saharanpur) in West UP on April 7, four days before the first phase of polling takes place on April 11.(Subhankar Chakraborty/ HT Photo)
         

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati will address as many as 12 joint rallies with Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) supremo Ajit Singh for the April-May Lok Sabha elections, a BSP leader familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

The decision was announced at the meeting of senior party leaders and office-bearers held under the chairmanship of Mayawati in the state unit office on Thursday, a day after Akhilesh Yadav called on the BSP chief at her residence in Lucknow.

The three parties are fighting the Lok Sabha polls as allies. According to the seat-sharing agreement, the SP is contesting 37 seats, the BSP 38 and the RLD will field candidates in three seats — Mathura, Muzaffarpur and Bagpat. Two seats — Rae Bareli and Amethi — have been left for the Congress.

The first joint rally will be held in Deoband (Saharanpur) in West UP on April 7, four days before the first phase of polling takes place on April 11.

Uttar Pradesh sends the largest number of MPs, 80, to the 543-member Lok Sabha. The Bharatiya Janata Party swept to power in 2014 on the back of its performance in its western and northern Indian strongholds like Uttar Pradesh, where it won 71 seats. While the SP managed to secure 5 seats, the BSP failed to open its account.

Mayawati also announced a rejig in the organisational structure of the BSP on Thursday. As part of her campaign strategy, Uttar Pradesh has been divided into six sectors and there will be an in-charge for each one of them.

The BSP is likely to release the first list of candidates on Saturday. “The sector in-charges will work as ‘ears and eyes’ of the BSP chief and give regular feedback, organise joint meetings of the BSP-SP workers and ensure that alliance supporters work in tandem at the grassroots level to take on the might of the BJP and the Congress in the election,” said the BSP leader.

“In the meeting, Mayawati directed the party workers to ensure the victory of the SP and RLD candidates in the seats allotted to the alliance partners. The sector in-charges were entrusted with the task of motivating BSP supporters towards voting for the SP and RLD candidates,” he said.

Mayawati also directed the party leaders to make the birth anniversary celebrations of Dalit icon Bhimrao Ambedkar and BSP founder Kanshi Ram on April 14 and March 15 respectively a low-key affair.

The party leaders and office-bearers should ensure that there is no violation of the model code of conduct (MCC) during these celebrations as well as election campaign, she reportedly said.

Samajwadi Party (SP) state spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said the joint rallies of the three parties will be planned in a more systematic manner after the Holi festival. “A new wave has set in UP’s politics with the alliance of SP-BSP-RLD. People are increasing and fast looking up to the alliance which is based on common ideologies. The alliance has unnerved the BJP and consequently the leader of that party area making baseless statements against the alliance,” Chaudhary said quoting party chief Akhilesh Yadav.

Meanwhile,Mayawati asked her party leaders to monitor the working of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) at all the booths. A VVPAT allows voters to verify that their vote was cast correctly.

Terming the alliance with the SP as perfect, Mayawati said it was capable of defeating the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.

“Along with UP, the alliance will secure victory on maximum seats in Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh,” she said.

Responding to the BSP’s move, UP BJP leader Harish Chandra Srivastava said, “Bua [aunt] and babua [nephew] are going to be together which means exposing them will be easier. We will simply remind the people how they both targeted each other and are now sharing the same stage. That shows how desperate they have become.”

First Published: Mar 15, 2019 07:51 IST

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