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UTTAR PRADESH 2007

Mayawati gets absolute majority

Saturday 12 May 2007

Lucknow, May 11. (PTI): Stitching a rainbow arrangement that included Brahmins, Mayawati’s BSP today scored a spectacular victory in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, securing an absolute majority on its own to end 15 years of coalition politics in the State.

Set for a fourth term as Chief Minister, the 51-year-old Dalit leader unseated her bitter rival Mulayam Singh Yadav and delivered a body blow to the BJP’s hopes of building on its string of victories in Punjab, Uttarakhand and Mumbai corporation.

The BSP, which always campaigned on an anti-upper caste plank in its two decades of electoral politics, fought the polls this time without any allies and won 202 of the 396 seats for which results were declared.

This just crosses the half-way mark in the 403-member House. Election to one seat was countermanded due to the death of a candidate.

Chief Minister Yadav, who won from both Gunnaur and Bharthana, conceded defeat in the wake of his party’s drubbing and resigned in the afternoon. His Samajwadi Party suffered severe losses, winning 98 seats.

Consolidating on her traditional base among Dalits, Mayawati gave tickets to 138 upper caste candidates, including 86 Brahmins and a large number of Muslims and OBCs, besides 93 Dalits.

While the BSP won 99 seats in the 2002 elections, the Samajwadi Party had bagged 143.

In today’s results, the BJP lost a lot of ground, winning only 50 seats against the 88 it had in the outgoing House.

Chief campaigner Rahul Gandhi’s electioneering appeared to have helped the Congress only retain its existing strength in the House. It won 22 seats against the 25 it had in the previous assembly.

Independents and others accounted for 25 seats.

Prominent among the winners were state Transport Minister Naresh Agarwal (Hardoi), the Chief Minister’s brother, PWD Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav (Jaswantnagar), Minister of State for PWD Arvind Singh Gope (Haidergarh) and Rashtriya Parivartan Dal president D P Yadav (Sahaswan).

Among those who lost were state BJP president and assembly Speaker Kesari Nath Tripathi (Allahabad South), rebel Samajwadi Party leader Beni Prasad Verma (Ayodhya), Agriculture Minister Ashok Bajpai (Pihani), Minister Ujjawal Raman Singh (Karchchana) and Apna Dal president Sone Lal Patel (Kolasla).

Severe loss for SP

The ruling Samajwadi Party suffered severe losses, winning 34 seats and was leading in 65 others. Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, who won from both Gunnaur and Bharthana, conceded defeat in the wake of his party’s drubbing and resigned in the afternoon.

The BJP, which hoped to continue its upswing in the polls in Punjab, Uttarakhand and Mumbai corporation, lost a lot of ground. It won 15 seats and was leading in 37 others.

Chief campaigner Rahul Gandhi’s electioneering appeared to have helped the Congress only retain its existing number of seats. The party was placed fourth, winning eight seats and leading in 15 more.

The Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal, with its clout in western Uttar Pradesh, managed to retain its hold by winning five seats and was leading in five others.

Dalit-Brahmin coalition

The BSP’s strategy of wooing Brahmins and other upper castes in a big way in a rainbow coalition helped add to its traditional vote base of Dalits and Muslims. The BSP may ultimately not need support from other parties to run a government.

In the others category, the Janata Dal-United and the Loktantrik Congress headed by Naresh Agarwal won one seat each. Independents won four seats.

BSP workers erupted in victory celebrations at the Mall Avenue residence of Mayawati, where they distributed sweets among themselves and to hordes of journalists. There were celebrations elsewhere in the state too as party workers set off fireworks.

The Congress indicated it was open to backing Mayawati in forming a government.

In the 2002 assembly elections, the BSP had won 99 seats while the Samajwadi Party bagged 143. The BJP was third last time too, winning 88 seats and the Congress had secured 25 seats.

The Ajit Singh-led RLD had won 15 seats and the CPI-M one seat. Others accounted for the remaining 32 seats.

Party position at 1600 hours in UP Assembly Elections

Total seats 403

Elections held 402

Results declared 397

BSP 202

SP 98

BJP+ allies 50

Congress+ allies 22

Others + Independents 25

See online : The Hindu

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