SP, BJP moving in tandem on minority votes?
The battle to grab the minority votes has begun. The Samajwadi Party (SP) accused the Bahujan Samaj Party(BSP) for being hand-in-glove with the BJP. The BSP retaliated that the SP and BJP had a tacit understanding. The BJP hinted at the possibility of a post-poll pact with BSP. Later it was denied by both the BJP and BSP.
Apparently these statements, though contradictory, are a concerted bid by the BJP and SP to create confusion within the minorities. Both would, for different reasons, like to them from the BSP.
With the Vidhan Sabha elections drawing close, a veritable tug-of-war for the minority votes has started. The SP, which has all along been claiming monopoly over the minorities would not like to share it at any cost, least of all with its arch rival, BSP.
The SP took full advantage of the confusing signals which emerged from the BJP's two-day state working committee meeting in Saharanpur, especially regarding the statements on the post-poll alliance between the BJP and BSP. The SP proved a point by saying that the meeting had eventually exposed BJP's designs. The SP even criticised the BSP for not going with the Opposition in the Lok Sabha over a fresh notification for trial of the top BJP leaders responsible for demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.
Ostensibly, even the BJP would prefer the minorities to remain intact with the SP. The Hindu votes would then polarise in favour of the BJP. Any shift by the minorities from the SP would result in further strengthening of the BSP, which was aiming for a majority in the forthcoming Vidhan Sabha polls.
Though the SP accounted for a major share of the minority votes in the last Lok Sabha polls, BSP ranked a close second. According to a survey by the Centre for Study of Developing Societies, the BSP's Dalit-Muslim combination was predominant in the 38 seats where the party secured 40 per cent votes.
It is believed that BJP's pre-poll alliance with the Rashtriya Lok Dal would further help BSP in the western belt in getting the minority votes. Going by BSP's performance in the last Lok Sabha elections, the party came a close second in Hathras, Aligarh, Hardwar and Etawah and was third in Kannauj, Mainpuri, Jalesar, Etah, Firozabad, Agra, Mathura, Khurja, Bulandshahr, Hapur, Meerut and Baghpat.
In fact BJP sprang a surprise when it admitted at its two-day state executive committee meeting that it was open to alliances -- either pre or post-poll. Perhaps leaders had realised their inability to come back to power on their own.
Meanwhile, the recent Dalit killings in Aligarh and Fatehpur has only added to the souring of relations between the BJP and BSP. Both the parties accused each other for disturbing communal harmony and hatching a conspiracy.
BSP workers were unwilling to attend meeting
The Times of India News Service
KANPUR: It was a day of ill-omen for the nine-odd Bahujan Samaj Party workers who were travelling in a Marshal jeep on Wednesday morning to take part in the meeting of BSP workers at Lucknow. The injured BSP workers said that they were reluctant to go to Lucknow due to certain apprehensions but they had to proceed for the meeting site at thee instructions of party leader Mayawati.
"We were not willing to go to Lucknow on Wednesday...but after receiving a phone call from Mayawati in the morning we started on our journey...and this proved fatal for us." said Netrapal Singh Yadav, a BSP workers, at LLR Hospital on Thursday.
Five BSP workers were injured in a road accident in Kannauj district onWednesday. They were admitted here to the LLR Hospital on Wednesday evening. The injured had been identified as Netrapal Singh, Shailendra Singh, Bachchu Singh, Tilak Raj Yadav and Ramesh Mechail. The condition of Shailendra and Tilakraj Singh was reported to be critical. Netrapal Singh, Bachchi Yadav and Tilak Yadav were distant relatives. Netrapal Singh told The Times of India that one Satya Prakash Sharma who had died on the spot in Wednesday's accident was the proposed BSP candidate from the Atrauly assembly constituency for the forthcoming assembly elections.
It had been reported that these BSP workers were proceeding to Lucknow from Aligarh district to attend a party meeting there. Five workers were injured and four others died when their Marshal jeep rammed into a running truck coming from the opposite direction near Sikhva area under Kannauj police station in Kannauj district. The truck driver managed to escape from the spot.
Those who died in the accident had been identified as Santo Sharma, Dharmendra Sethi, Bachchi Yadav and Rakesh Singh. Dozens of BSP workers and local leaders thronged the LLR Hospital to see the injured party workers. BSP leader Mayawati also rushed to the hospital late in the evening.