With the BSP deciding to contest urban local body polls on party symbol after a gap of over two decades, party supremo Mayawati is camping here to personally monitor preparations and finalise candidates. Mayawati is in the state capital and is meeting zonal and divisional level party office bearers on a regular basis and giving instructions on how to go about the elections, a senior party leader said. The party, which has otherwise stayed away from local body polls in the past, has decided to enter into the fray this time round in order to deal with fresh challenges through a new strategy. Though BSP’s base is not as strong in urban areas (as in rural areas), the party decided to face these elections in view of the growth in people’s support in urban areas as well and now it does not want to leave anything to chance and go with full preparations, the leader, who did not wished to be identified, said. The names of candidates are being discussed at the highest level and senior leaders have been asked to apprise cadres and supporters that they have to put in all their might in these elections in a disciplined manner, the leader said. As the process of nominations has started, the lists of candidates are likely to be announced in three to four days time, the party leader said, adding names of some mayoral candidates have already been announced.
Senior leaders including state unit president Ram Achal Rajbhar, former ministers Antu Misra, Nakul Dubey and Lalji Verma, Rajya Sabha MP Ashok Siddhart and Shamsuddin Rien, who is in-charge of western UP, will actively campaign for the nominees, he said. As of now there is no plan of the party president taking part in active campaigning, he said. It was after one of the worst drubbing at the hustings early this year that party supremo Mayawati convened a meeting of party leaders of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand here for a detailed discussion on the issue of urban body polls in the state and it was decided that they will be contested on party symbol. The BSP chief had told her partymen that efforts will be to give good results with the help of ‘sarv samaj’ (entire society). The BSP has not fought urban body polls on party ticket after 1995 and the decision to contest them this time was on a demand from leaders who believed it was time to make the party’s presence felt in the state, especially after the debacle in assembly polls.
Civic polls are crucial for Mayawati and her BSP as the party has been on the downslide ever since losing power in the state in 2012 Assembly elections. The BSP was decimated in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when it failed to win even a single seat. In the last Assembly elections, the BJP and and its allies won a massive mandate securing 325 seats in the 403-member House. The Mayawati-led party ended a distant third with only 19 seats while the second spot was taken by the SP (54 seats).