.........LUCKNOW: Having learnt its lessons after a crushing defeat first in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and then in the recently concluded UP Assembly polls, the Bahujan Samaj Party has decided to contest upcoming urban local body polls on its party symbol.
While in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the blue brigade scored a duck, its tally came down to mere 19 in 2017 UP Assembly elections from 80 in 2012.
Reiterating its stand on EVMs alleged rigging by the BJP to obtain victory, Bahujan Samaj Party at a performance review meeting, decided to chalk out a fresh social engineering formula focused at ‘sarvasamaj’ loaded with fresh moves to counter saffron brigade and RSS.
In fact, BSP has never gone into the civic polls as a party. The party candidates used to fight on symbol 'kite' without showing any direct allegiance to the party. But this time around, after its dismal performance in two consecutive major elections, the party has decided to weigh its clout and assess support base as compared to the popularity of the Samajwadi Party and the Congress.
"On the basis of the party's show in civic polls, Mayawati will draw a strategy for 2019 Lok Sabha elelction," said a senior party functionary.
Moreover, she will also gauge the options of entering into a grand alliance only after witnessing her party’s
performance in urban local body polls. Though Akhilesh Yadav has already sent feelers to BSP supremo twice for a tie-up, she wants to wait till the civic polls. If the party fares better than Congress and SP, the alliance will be on her conditions or otherwise she will try to strike the best deal in the party's favour.
Meanwhile, at the meeting, apart from introducing her brother Anand Kumar, who was recently appointed party vice-president, to partymen, BSP chief effected a major organisational shakeup by dissolving the existing team of zonal, divisional and district coordinators. She also did away with her party’s trademark ‘Bhaichara (brotherhood) committees’ which were set up to woo voters of different caste and communities like Brahmins, Thakurs and Muslims. The BSP chief, in fact, divested senior party leader Naseemuddin Siddiqui of the charge of UP and made him in-charge of Madhya Pradesh.
While the Brahmin Bhaichara committees were looked after by party general secretary and Mayawati’s close aide MP Satish Chandra Mishra and MLA Ramveer Upadhyay, the Thakur Bhaichara committees were taken care of by MLC Jaiveer Singh and MLA Uma Shankar Singh.
Likewise, BSP MLC Naseemuddin Siddiqui and his son Afzal were entrusted with the responsibility of Muslims.
The BSP chief also appointed two teams of functionaries from the Dalit, MBC and Muslim community to expand party base.
The teams would look after nine divisions each in UP. While one team would comprise BSP leaders like MP Ashok Siddharth, MLC Sunil Chittor and Naushad Ali, the other would be looked after by BSP state president Ram Achal Rajbhar, MP Munquad Ali and MLA Lalji Verma.
Former BSP MLA Nakul Dubey and former MLC Anant Mishra have been given the charge of Lucknow and Kanpur, respectively, for the mayoral elections.