The party leadership is also apprehensive of the rise of Bhim Army in western UP and its growing influence on Dalit youths.
Lucknow: Major political parties in Uttar Pradesh are still toying with the idea of a grand alliance in Uttar Pradesh to combat the victory march of the BJP.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), however, is not wasting any time and has already started short listing candidates for the Lok Sabha elections due in 2019. Ms Mayawati, who held a meeting of zonal coordinators and divisional office bearers on Saturday, asked them to start preparing for the general elections.
“We have started screening candidates and within the next two months, we will be finalising the names for the Lok Sabha elections. Ms Mayawati wants to give each candidate at least six months’ time to work in the constituency,” said a party functionary.
If the candidate does not perform well in his constituency or if the feedback from the voters is not satisfactory, the BSP president will have time to change the candidate.
Though the BSP leaders admit that there have been talks of a grand alliance and that the BSP is also open to the idea, they do not wish to be caught unprepared when, and if, the alliance finally materialises.
“We have seen the fate of the Congress that fianlised its alliance with the SP when the election process had begun and the last minute decision made both the parties pay a heavy price in the polls. We do not want a similar experience,” the functionary said.
Moreover, the BSP is aware that the issue of number of seats in UP will be a major stumbling block. The BSP will not agree to concede “too many seats” to other parties and the Samajwadi Party is likely to take a similar stand. The issue of leadership of the alliance will be another factor.
Sources said that Ms Mayawati may “soften her stand” on this issue only if the SP and the Congress agree to support her candidature for the Rajya Sabha, next year.
The BSP, this time, is focusing mainly on Dalit candidates since its decision to broaden the base of the party met with disastrous results in 2012, 2014, and then again, in 2017.
Moreover, the party leadership is also apprehensive of the rise of Bhim Army in western UP and its growing influence on Dalit youths.