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Mayawati woos upper castes; keen to replicate U.P. in Gujarat

Monday 17 September 2007, by DASGUPTA*Manas

Bahujan Samaj Party to contest all 182 seats in Assembly elections

VADODARA: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati is to keen on replicating U.P. in Gujarat in the coming Assembly elections by presenting a united front of upper castes and backward classes against the Congress and the BJP.

Photo: PTI

Addressing a public meeting organised by the Bahujan Samaj Party to welcome some former members of the BJP, including the suspended former State general secretary, Nalin Bhatt, here on Sunday, Ms. Mayawati said her party would contest all the 182 seats in the State. She said she was not looking for power in the State immediately, but was patiently building up the party. The “Bahujan Samaj” had strong vote banks; they were scattered over various constituencies. She said her party would not allow its support base to be wasted by aligning with any other party.

In an apparent bid to woo the upper caste voters, both Ms. Mayawati and her party general secretary and Minister Satish Chandra Mishra repeatedly said the BSP was not against them. The Chief Minister disowned the slogans once made popular to describe the BSP’s strong support base among the backward classes. She said the slogan that her party wanted to “boot out” the Brahmins, the Vaishyas and the Kshatriyas was the “creation” of the Congress and the BJP and was intended to create a division between the Dalits and the upper castes. She insisted that the BSP believed in a classless society

Ms. Mayawati refrained from naming Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi or attacking his alleged communal policies. Instead, she gave details of the steps being taken by her government in U.P. for the benefit of the backward classes, the poor and the unemployed among the upper castes.

Advocating reservation in jobs both in the public and private sectors, Ms. Mayawati said the BSP government in U.P. had stopped giving any facility to private industries unless they agreed to provide at least 30 per cent reservation in jobs, 10 per cent each for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, the socially and educationally backward classes and the poor and the unemployed among the upper castes.

She had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to seek enforcement of reservation in the private sector, but was told it would be “difficult” to implement. “But we have already done it in U.P. and if my party comes to power at the Centre, it will be implemented at the national level. But till then, we will keep pressuring the Centre.

Ms. Mayawati said her party had agreed to extend support to the UPA government at the Centre if it was prepared to take the initiative to amend the Constitution to provide for reservation for the poor and the jobless among the upper castes.

Neither the Congress nor the BJP was interested in improving the lot of the poor, she said.

See online : The Hindu

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