BSP announces Ravi Inder Singh as CM candidate

By Surinder Awasthi

The Times of India News Service

CHANDIGARH: In a surprise move, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Kanshi Ram announced dissident Akali leader and former speaker Ravi Inder Singh as his party's choice as chief minister after the next assembly elections which he claimed his party would win hands down.

Addressing a press conference on Monday after some leaders of All India Shiromani Akali Dal (AISAD) of Gurcharan Singh Tohra joined him here. They alleged that nepotism was rampant and only rich people counted in all the Akali factions which forced them to leave the Akali Party after having served it as committed workers after 20 to 25 years.

Appreciating Ravi Inder Singh brand of panthic politics, Kanshi Ram said that he had shown concern for the oppressed and dalits which is akin to his own approach.

He said that since only a jat was inclined to become the chief minister of Punjab, Ravi Inder Singh was the only available choice for him. No leader of any other community was confident of donning the mantle of the chief ministership in Punjab, he averred.

When pointed out that Ravi Inder Singh had poor support base and would prove a week chief minister, Kansi Ram quipped that a week chief minister suits his party the best.

If Ravi Inder were not confident of his own victory, he should seek his support to ensure it. Strategically, he said that his party may field its candidate against him.

Incidentally, Ravi Inder Singh was not present at the conference though he was in the city. He avoided talking to the media while his private secretary said that he had taken ill and his doctor has advised him not to inter-act with anybody and take complete rest.

Unfolding his plans to capture power in a dozen odd states, Kanshi Ram said that he had handed over the charge of Uttar Pradesh and Uttranchal to Mayavati while himself would target Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Bihar, Gujarat and Orissa where the elections are due in three years.

He added that his party won't enter into any alliance with any political party in these states and would rather concentrate on uniting the Bahujan Samaj which is divided on the caste lines.

He said that the Bahujan Samaj has absolute majority in these states - only they need to be united.

Though Kanshi Ram claimed that he would emerge victorious in Punjab even election were held tomorrow yet he said that he would concentrate on Punjab till the assembly elections, which are scheduled early next year.

His aim is to wipe out Akali Dal of Parkash Singh Badal and Bharatiya Janata Party and overthrow their government whom he described as Manuvadi.

Confident of his winning electoral prospects in Punjab though the party has only one legislator in the present assembly, Kanshi Ram said that Punjab has 28 per cent schedule caste population while it's over 36 per cent in Doaba region which returns 25 seats to state assembly.

Without disclosing his winning caste combinations, he said that the state was the best ground for the success of his party.

Those who joined the BSP included Gurinder Singh Dhanaula - once confidante of Surjit Singh Barnala - and general secretary of the schedule caste and backward class cell of ruling SAD, Karam Singh, leader of Punjab Brick Kiln workers union and about 40 block and village level officer bearers of Tohra's party.

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Referred by: Mukandan CM
Published on: June 27, 2001
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