After two decades, BSP to contest local body polls


first_imgIn a marked shift in its electoral strategy post the drubbing in the Assembly elections, the Bahujan Samaj Party has decided to contest the upcoming urban body polls in Uttar Pradesh on the party symbol.The BSP would be fighting urban body polls with a symbol after a gap of over two decades.Party chief Mayawati announced the decision during a closed-door meeting of State officer-bearers in Lucknow on Wednesday. Notifications for municipal corporation elections are expected to be issued by end of May.The BSP movement is at a “crossroads” and to tackle the “challenges” facing it, “a new strategy” and “energy” is required, the party quoted Ms. Mayawati saying in a statement. “There is a need to work at all levels with a missionary zeal,” she said.Sources said the party decided to contest upcoming local elections with a symbol with an aim to register its presence in those areas, mobilise its cadre and prevent further loss of vote share. Fighting with a symbol is also expected to ensure that the party cadre devote their energy behind a single candidate.“When the party fought without symbols, many members would stand against each other. There would be problems of indiscipline, sending a mixed signal to voters. The party feels that if it does not contest the election, after a big loss, it would become difficult to bring back those voters,” a senior BSP leader told The Hindu.Ms. Mayawati said that though the party’s base in urban areas was relatively weaker (than rural areas) it decided to fight on a symbol considering the improvement in the BSP’s support base in urban areas in the last election. “The party will fight with the support of sarv samaj and try to give better results,” she said.The BSP has been fighting local elections without issuing a symbol for over decades. A senior leader said the party had refrained from distributing tickets as it had to deal with multiple contenders and feared that favouring one would alienate the others. Asked why a similar scramble for ticket would not arise in the party now, the senior leader said that since the decision had been formally announced, there would be no such issues this time.The party will also for the first time form city-level committees. Since polls are near, the target is to complete them within 15 days.During the meeting, Ms. Mayawati also told her party members that a decision to form an alliance with other anti-BJP parties would be taken closer to the 2019 Lok Sabha election after “considering the political situation prevailing then.” For now, the instruction to members is to increase the mass base of the party, a source said.If and with which party the BSP aligns with in 2019, will be determined by the “support base of that party,” the source added, quoting Ms. Mayawati.The BSP chief also recalled how in the past the party had not gained much from alliances. While its vote bank transferred to the other party with all “honesty,” the votes of its allies did not transfer to it, she explained in the meeting, which was attended by BSP candidates, district and vidhan sabha heads, and zonal coordinators.last_img

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