Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati laid bare her most earnest prime ministerial ambitions at a press conference in Lucknow on Thursday. Though she said that talk of alliances and alignment with like-minded secular parties would be done after election results are announced, she did assert that she would want to form at government at the Centre "on the UP formula". However, she left the journalists high and dry about what she meant by that formula.
"Our target in this Lok Sabha election is to become the balance of power at the Centre," she said at the rather over-crowded press meet. "If we do achieve that, we would want to form our own government with the help of like-minded and secular allies," she added.
If the party's candidates' list is any indication, Mayawati seems to be going ahead with her Dalit-Brahmin-Muslim social engineering experiment once again. It was this combination which got her a comfortable majority in the 2007 UP Assembly election.
The party has given the maximum number of tickets in UP to Brahmins (21) followd by Muslims (19) and Dalits (17). Mayawati said the ticket distribution was in proportion to the contribution made by the particular caste or community to the party's growth.
As different from other parties, Mayawati released the entire list of BSP candidates for the 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP at one go. "I do not declare candidates in instalments," she said, taking a dig at other parties which have been releasing piecemeal lists of nominees. Though the list has been officially declared now, the fact is that the BSP was the frontrunner in finalizing almost all its candidates about three months ago.
The Dalit icon said the BSP was committed to stop "the communal forces led by the BJP" and the "non-performer and corrupt" UPA regime from returning to power "with all our might". Significantly, she made no mention of the Third Front which includes her bête noire Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party (SP).
In fact, she said, Mulayam and Modi were both contesting from seats in eastern UP as part of a secret understanding. "This is a conspiracy to turn this election into a Hindu versus Muslim contest. They are playing a dangerous communal game for their vested interests," she alleged. She also did not spare the Akhilesh Yadav regime, saying that it had been a poor performer in the fields of development, and law and order.
Interestingly, the BSP never issues a manifesto, though as before every election, Mayawati released an appeal to the people to vote for "Sarvajan hitaaye, sarvajan sukhaaye" (progress and prosperity for all), the BSP's motto.
As a sting in the tail, she warned the media against putting out stories twisted out of context against the BSP. "I have been seeing that the media never shows positive news about our party but always carries misleading stories about us," she complained.
Maya's changing calculus (candidates' caste break-up)
2004 2009 2014
Brahmins 07 20 21
OBCs 27 17 15
Muslims 20 14 19
Thakurs 06 06 08
SCs 17 17 17
NB: 17 seats are reserved for SC/ST in UP.