In a rare press conference, BSP chief Mayawati Thursday said the fact that Narendra Modi is contesting from Varanasi and Mulayam Singh Yadav from Azamgarh is an attempt by these parties to give a “communal” colour to the elections. She dismissed reports she is likely to contest from Lalganj in Azamgarh and that her close aide Satish Chandra Misra would challenge Modi in Varanasi.
Some of her statements and replies:
On Modi and Mulayam:
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“This (Modi contesting from Varanasi and Mulayam from Azamgarh) is a conspiracy so that elections can be given a Hindu-Muslim colour at the right time. I urge Hindus and Muslims not to let this work. I urge the chief election commissioner to keep a watch on activities of these two parties in Poorvanchal, otherwise the atmosphere of the whole country could get disturbed because of their tacit understanding. This election appears to be shifting from the issues of poverty, inflation, unemployment, terrorism and corruption to one between secular and communal forces. The BSP will use all its strength to stop the BJP and its communal allies from coming to power.
On a post-poll alliance with BJP:
No question of taking support from the BJP… We have formed government with them three times in UP. Our experience has not been good. In a situation where the BSP can form the government, we will accept support only from secular parties.
Would that include SP?
As far as the Samajwadi Party is concerned, we do not consider it a secular party. It has a tacit understanding with the BJP.
On likely allies if the BSP holds the key to power:
Let the results come. .. no question of any alliance with BJP.
On talks with Mamata, Jayalalithaa
Our party is fighting the elections alone. So, no question of talking to Mamata Banerjee or Jayalalithaa while the elections are on.
Mayawati said the BSP does not release a manifesto but issues an appeal. She released a 24-page booklet stressing various commitments:
SC/STs and OBCs
Efforts to introduce reservation for SC/STs and OBCs where it has not yet been, such as legislature and private sector; “additional” reservation for SC/STs who converted to Islam or Christianity “without disturbing the existing system”. If government bodies give works to private institutions on contract, reservation to SC/ST and OBCs should continue.
“A meaningful attempt will be made to remove poverty and unemployment by making available reservation to them.”
MGNREGS gives jobs 100 days a year; BSP promises 365 days a year.