BSP chief Mayawati is set to hold a rally in Punjab’s Nawanshahr on March 15 to celebrate the birth anniversary of party founder Kanshiram. This is the first time when Mayawati would address a function organised to celebrate the birth anniversary of Kanshiram in Punjab. Since his death in 2006, Mayawati has celebrated most of Kanshiram’s birth and death anniversaries in Lucknow.
Nawanshahr is about 50 km from Kanshiram’s birthplace of Pirthipur Bunga village in Rupnagar district, where his sister and other relatives hold a celebration on his birth anniversary. A senior party leader said: “This is the first time that Mayawati will address such a function in Punjab. She had earlier addressed rallies in Punjab during elections but not one specifically organised to celebrate Kanshiram’s birth anniversary.”
He added that BSP workers from across Punjab will gather for the rally and “a gathering of lakhs “ is on the cards. BSP hopes to kick-off its campaign for Assembly elections in Punjab, which will go for polls early next year, around the same time as Uttar Pradesh.
Kanshiram’s sister Sawarn Kaur and brother Dalbara Singh have been opponents of Mayawati. Last year, Kaur had held a public meeting in Agra, in which she had accused Mayawati of usurping Kanshiram’s party. She had even accused her of killing him. Kaur is likely to campaign in UP once the Assembly elections approach.
Former BSP leaders like MP Jugul Kishore and former minister Daddu Prasad are also likely to campaign claiming that Mayawati is no more following Kanshiram’s ideology. Former BSP MP Pramod Kureel, who had organised Kaur’s programmes like ‘Oust Mayawati and Save BSP’, said Mayawati has finally decided to go to Punjab, as she is under pressure amid increasing clamour for Dalit votes. “Otherwise, she has ignored invitations for taking part in Kanshiram’s birth anniversary celebrations,” he added.
In Punjab, BSP had opened account by bagging nine seats and 16.32 per cent of votes in the 1992 elections. But since then, its vote share has been constantly decreasing. The party had won only one seat with 7.48 per cent votes in 1997, but managed to win nothing in 2002, 2007 and 2012 polls. Its vote share was only 4.29 per cent in 2012.