BSP in Gujarat: Thrice bitten, still not shy!

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Ahmedabad, Dec 15 (UNI) Even after drawing a blank in the previous three elections, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is still optimistic to open its account in Gujarat, having put up its candidates in more than 90 per cent of the Assembly seats across the state.

The BSP is contesting 166 Assembly seats in Gujarat to play the role of a third force in the state. ''In the event of a hung Assembly, we will at least be in position to form the future Government in the state,'' Mr R P Singh, in-charge of the party in Gujarat said.

That the party was taking the elections seriously could be gauged from the fact that party supremo and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati came down to Gujarat twice for electioneering.

After 'conquering' Uttar Pradesh with her 'social engineering' formula, Ms Mayawati is now trying her luck in Gujarat by wooing Brahmins apart from her Dalit-Muslim voter base.

The party seems to have done its homework before storming the electoral fray. Besides Brahmins, Dalits and Muslims, the BSP has doled out tickets to members of the Jain, Kshetriya and Patel communities.

Prior to this, the BSP has fought three elections in which all its candidates lost their deposits. In 1995, when it first entered Gujarat, it fielded 115 candidates, the percentage of votes it polled was as low as 1.6 per cent votes.

In 1998, it marked its presence with just seven candidates, with the polling percentage shrinking to a pitiable 0.08 per cent.

In the 2002 elections too, all the 34 BSP candidates forfeited their deposit, cornering just .32 per cent votes.

This time, the BSP hopes to take advantage of the dissidence factor plaguing both arch Congress and the BJP.

UNI

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