Maya game plan: party to contest over 500 seats

MAYAWATI’S mantra seems to be “the more the merrier”,as she is busy fielding BSP candidates for almost all the 543 Lok Sabha seats across the country....

Written by Santosh Singh | Lucknow | Published: March 11, 2009 2:18 am

MAYAWATI’S mantra seems to be “the more the merrier”,as she is busy fielding BSP candidates for almost all the 543 Lok Sabha seats across the country.

The UP Chief Minister wants to win as many Lok Sabha seats as possible for having a shot at the post of the Prime Minister — the Left had earlier projected her as a possible PM candidate. Her second objective is to emerge as a Dalit leader with pan-Indian appeal,according to a party leader.

He said Mayawati,also the BSP president,had fixed March 20 as her deadline for finalising the candidates’ lists for all states. The party’s main focus would be on Kerala,Punjab,Haryana,Maharashtra,Bihar,Madhya Pradesh,Delhi,Rajasthan,Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand besides UP.

“Except small states like Arunachal and Manipur,the party had contested elections in almost every state in the past,but this is the first time it is contesting so many seats,” the leader said.

The BSP chief,who is personally choosing the candidates,will launch the election campaign from Thiruvananthapuram on March 21. She has cleared candidates for 13 of 20 seats in Kerala.

In Tamil Nadu,the party has cleared the names for 12 of the 39 seats. Among the candidates are former AIADMK MP Sridhar from Chennai South and Tamil writer Shivgami for Kanyakumari,according to party sources. BSP national general secretary Suresh Mane,who is in charge of Kerala,Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh,said candidates for the remaining seats would be selected soon.

Party insiders said the selection of candidates in Andhra Pradesh was delayed because of the “futile attempts” to have an alliance with Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam Party.

In Karnataka,the party has declared candidates for 15 of the 28 seats.

In the north,the party has announced candidates for 12 of the 13 seats in Punjab,including former governor B K N Chhibbar for Amritsar. In Haryana,it has announced candidates for all 10 seats,including former cricketer Chetan Sharma from Faridabad. From Chandigarh,the party has fielded former Union minister Harmohan Dhawan.

In the east,the party is going to contest almost all seats in Bengal and Orissa,although details are not available.

In Maharashtra,the party has announced the names for 13 out of the 42 seats,including Arun Gawli from south-central Mumbai and Mahant Sudhir Das from Nashik. The mahant belongs to the family of the temple priest who had stopped B R Ambedkar from entering a temple.

While party sources said most of the candidates had been finalised for Gujarat,party general secretary in charge of Bihar Azad Gandhi said they would announce candidates for all 40 seats “very soon,and only a dozen names are yet to be cleared by Behanji”.

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