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UTTAR PRADESH 2007

BSP on a high, Cong equally dry

Friday 11 May 2007, by MANJUL*Tarannum

BSP emerges the winner, BJP could only impress in Lucknow while Congress ends up a total failure. Newsline visits their party offices in the state capital to check out the mood. Here is the report:

Lucknow, May 11: At BSP Office: City wore a blue hue on Friday as it became apparent that Mayawati would be the next Chief Minister. Even though the city seats were not won by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), its party office in Mall Avenue saw ecstatic celebrations.

The word was out that Mayawati was all set to form the government by 11 am. And, the partymen could be heard shouting: “Kya behanji aane wali hain? Arre... Mayawati jeet rahi hai taiyari karo...

Meanwhile, tea stalls around the city were the hot spots today, as people sipped tea and aired their views on Mayawati. The stall near Mayawati residence was indeed the hub, but the owner had a tough time asking for money from the BSP men. “Behenji ka raaj agaya hai. Ab darkar raho,” said a supporter to the stall owner. But, the quick-witted man replied, “Main Dalit hun, atyachaar nahin kar paoge.” Finally, the supporters gave in and paid him.

At BJP Office

Undeterred by the poor show in these elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers were optimistic about bagging city seats and hence, not willing to lag behind in terms of celebrations.

Outside the BJP state office on Vidhan Sabha Marg, supporters were seen buying flags and buntings. “We are sure that we would be grabbing at least three seats in Lucknow, so definitely we will celebrate,” said a party worker, who was buying flags. But, his companion reminded him, “Vidhayak ji ke ghar hi jaana... zyada bawaal nahin allowed hai” (referring to the EC’s guidelines that said no to all victory processions). But, the expectations of the party had fallen really low and hence, the office wore a dull look later on.

Interestingly, the BJP men had hired a dholwala, who was beating his drums outside the Mall Avenue residence of Lalji Tandon. But around 1.30 pm, as soon as the word was out that Tandon was trailing by 5000 votes, the BSP supporters, who included Lucknow Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee head Rajendra Singh Bagga, decided to hire the dholwala for themselves. And the man, loaded with money, quickly shifted camps by just turning his face to the other side.

At Congress Office

At the Congress office, there was not much activity, just like the party’s fate in the state and the state capital. In the morning, the workers were hopeful of getting at least one seat in Lucknow, but by 3 pm, they realised that they had lost again. “We had spent so much on flags and posters this year, it’s all such a waste,” a publicity material stall owner said.

Interestingly, the juice and tea stall owner, right next to the Congress Office in Mall Avenue, was ready with the blue flag. “These guys (Cong) have not been able to convince the man next door (referring to the tea stall owner). So, how do you expect them to convince the people of the state,” said Anil Yadav, a man who was sipping tea at the stall.

See online : The Indian Express

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