At a time when the Congress and the BJP are looking for a foothold in Uttar Pradesh,senior BSP leaders of the state are campaigning in the four neighbouring states going to polls.
BSP chief Mayawati has been supervising distribution of tickets and election strategies,holding meetings in Delhi with leaders and candidates from the four states. She has not been in Lucknow since July. She has interviewed most of the candidates personally,a senior leader said.
Leader of the opposition in the assembly Swami Prasad Maurya is on a 10-day campaign tour of Madhya Pradesh,having spent a week in Rajasthan earlier. His counterpart in the legislative council,Naseemuddin Siddiqui,is in Delhi and likely to visit MP; he will return to Lucknow only next month. The BSPs UP president,Ram Achal Rajbhar,has been in Delhi since August,having been put in charge of party affairs there.
A good performance in the assembly elections will help the party in its long-term plan for a few Lok Sabha seats outside UP, a senior party leader said. Currently,the BSP has only one Lok Sabha member from outside UP from Rewa,MP.
MP and Rajasthan have a large population of Dalits (especially Mayawatis sub-caste),who form the main base of the party. As in UP,the party has tried to woo OBCs. Its state presidents in Delhi and MP belong to the Gurjjar and Maurya OBCs.
The MP unit president,I S Maurya,said the party has decided to field longtime party workers. In Rajasthan,all six MLAs had defected to the Congress. We will contest all assembly seats. To preempt defection,tickets are being given only to those who have been with us for over a decade, said state president Bhagwan Singh Baba.
Our vote share in assembly elections in the four neighbouring states has increased successively. The challenge is to improve the seats tally, a leader said.