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Mayawati woos upper castes ahead of LS polls

With an eye on upper caste vote bank, BSP chief Mayawati on Thursday announced names of 36 candidates for Lok Sabha polls, 18 of whom are Brahmins.

Updated: Apr 18, 2013, 19:05 PM IST

Lucknow: With an eye on upper caste vote bank, BSP chief Mayawati on Thursday announced names of 36 candidates for Lok Sabha polls, 18 of whom are Brahmins.

Seeking to exploit the upper caste card to the hilt, she alleged atrocities were being committed on such people during the Samajwadi Party rule in Uttar Pradesh.

"Just as Dalits are facing onslaughts, atrocities are being committed on Brahmins too under the Samajwadi Party government," Mayawati told reporters on the sidelines of Brahmin Bhaichara Samiti office bearers` meeting here.

Citing the instance of humiliation to a Brahmin family in Etawah, she said most of those in the echelons of power in the SP government came from that district and it was a well-known fact that people belonging to `sarv samaj` (the entire society) are harassed there.

"But Brahmins bear the maximum brunt of atrocities in Etawah...When the incident (of humiliation) took place, BSP raised the matter in the Assembly. Besides, its local unit tried to take up the issue and help them get justice," she said.

Mayawati regretted that during the last Assembly polls, the upper castes and Brahmins got influenced by non-BSP parties and did not vote for her party, "for which they are now repenting".

"For ensuring that they do not get further misled by the false propaganda of those parties, a detailed programme has been worked out by BSP to apprise them of various works done by my government in their interest. Besides, they would be apprised of atrocities on Brahmins under the SP rule," she said.

On why upper castes had got disenchanted with BSP in the last Assembly polls, she said, "Though our vote percentage rose, we lost seats due to our opponents` (Congress and BJP) conspiracy, but we have learnt a lesson and would not allow them to succeed this time," she said.

Mayawati said, "I am not an astrologer so cannot predict the number of seats that BSP would get, but my party feels that the results would be good and surprising."

The BSP supremo refused to disclose in which states her party would contest the Lok Sabha elections other than Uttar Pradesh, which has 80 seats.

When asked whether her party, which is ahead in declaring its candidates for the Lok Sabha polls, would change them at the last moment as it had done in the assembly polls, she said last time it had to be done following serious complaints about the candidates.

She said this time around the candidates are being finalised after serious and detailed consideration, so there would be no requirement to change them.

Mayawati emphasised that her party was not for any particular caste or religion and had worked for all when in power and given them equal representation.

She said when her party raised the issue of promotion in reservation, it was projected as if it was something new when it was already being implemented since 1955 with some gaps in between.

The BSP supremo said the reservation in promotion bill was pending in the Lok Sabha because of opposition from Congress and BJP and added that her party would put forth its views again when Parliament meets from Monday.

"BSP also did not oppose inclusion of some OBC castes in the SC/ST list with the condition that the quota be also increased," she said, adding, when in power she had taken up the cause of reservation for religious minorities as well as economically backward upper castes.

Mayawati stuck to her demand for imposition of President`s Rule in Uttar Pradesh on law and order ground.