As BSP chief Mayawati prepares to sound the poll bugle with a rally in Lucknow on January 15, her 58th birthday, her close aide Satish Chandra Misra dismisses the idea of a third front and speculations about a tie-up with the Congress. Excerpts from an interview he gave to D K Singh:
There has been a buzz in political circles about the likelihood of a Congress-BSP tie up for the Lok Sabha elections. Is it true?
(Laughs) I too have been reading about my meetings with Congress leaders. When I checked my schedule on the day I was supposed to have met Sonia Gandhi, I was in Lucknow at a family function. Somehow, I don’t seem to know about these meetings. How can we have any talks with any party when it’s a policy decision of the BSP to go it alone in the elections? We are going to contest all 543 seats. You will perhaps be convinced after hearing behnji on January 15.
Many Congress leaders seem convinced that their minority votes and your Dalit votes make a formidable combination…
The Congress does not have minority votes. Muslims are 100 per cent with the BSP and they are going to vote for us. Even the majority community is totally with us. We don’t believe in such divisions. For five years, we ensured equal participation (in governance) of all castes, classes and communities. We ensured that there was not even a minor skirmish, leave alone 135 communal riots (as) in the past one-and-a-half years. The Congress took no action against the (Samjawadi Party) government (over the Muzaffarnagar riots) though they are in power at the Centre. There is total breakdown of law and order in Uttar Pradesh, but the Congress never considered the option of President’s rule. They talk about ISI operations and put a blot on people who are already in tents getting no medicines, no food. The Congress has always had a tacit understanding with the SP.
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What makes you so confident after you lost the last assembly elections in UP heavily?
We did not lose badly. In fact, we got 38 lakh more votes in 2012 than in 2007. In about 100 seats, we lost by less than 2,000 votes. What really worked against us was the fact that both the Congress and the BJP turned out to be zero.
How does your party look at the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate? And how do you expect the Narendra Modi factor to play out in UP?
There are many candidates (for the prime minister’s post) in the BJP and they should first decide it themselves. As for Modi, he will have no impact in UP.
The Samajwadi Party has been at the forefront of an attempt to forge a sort of third front ahead of the elections. Why has the BSP stayed out of all this?
Third front is a joke. When you don’t know who will get how many seats, how can you talk about it? First you see what percentage marks you get in different subjects and only then should you think of choosing science or whatever stream. We are contesting all 543 Lok Sabha seats.
Why did you fare so badly in the Delhi assembly elections, ceding your vote-bank to the Aam Admi Party?
Even big players (such as the Congress) got swept away. People will soon realise their mistake (of voting for the AAP).
In 2009, Rahul Gandhi was given credit for the Congress’s show in UP. Do you see Rahul influencing the results in 2014?
You saw it in the 2012 assembly polls.