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LJP to go it alone in UP polls, says Paswan

By Staff
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New Delhi, May 6 (UNI) Undeterred by failure in wooing Bihari voters with his call for a Muslim Chief Minister, Lok Janshakti Party chief Ramvilas Paswan today released his trial balloon of a Dalit-Muslim alliance towards Uttar Pradesh, claiming time was ripe for an alternative to the ruling Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party in the political bellweather state.

The LJP will contest all 404 Assembly seats in the coming UP polls, he announced at his party's Dalit-Minority Rights Rally here, thereby dimming chances of a poll pact with partners in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance at the Centre where he is a minister.

The rally will enter Ghaziabad tomorrow and pass through Meerut, Saharanpur, Bijnore and various other districts of UP before culminating at Allahabad on May 24.

''We have to make a strong show in Uttar Pradesh this time,'' he said, calling upon his party managers to strive to bring the state's 27 per cent dalit and 16 per cent Muslim population on the LJP's political platform.

The LJP had won just two of the 15-16 seats it contested in the last polls, but should emerge as the centre of power in UP now to bring real empowerment to dalits and Muslims, both of whom have been denied the fruits of development over the years, he told the rally.

Mr Paswan hit out at both BSP leader Mayawati as well as the Samajwadi Party, saying their politics stood discredited due to frequent ideological and policy shifts.

He ridiculed Ms Mayawati's leadership, saying she had reduced the Bahujan Samaj Party to ''Brahman Samaj Party'' even as he attacked SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav for his stand on the reservation issue.

''People in Uttar Pradesh are bored of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the SP and the BSP. They want a political alternative,'' he said.

Projecting himself as a ''secular'' and pro-poor leader, the LJP leader maintained that he had worked ''tirelessly'' for communal peace when Gujarat burned under Mr Narendra Modi and that he unambiguously supported reservation for backward classes.

Those opposing the government's move to reserve 27 per cent seats in centres of higher learning did not consider capitation fee as anti-merit, he said, adding that the LJP in fact supported reservation for slum children in public schools, regardless of caste.

Slamming the BJP's ''Bharat Suraksha Yatras'' as ''Bharat Vinash Yatras'', he said the LJP's rally was aimed to counter the Saffron party and was planned the day the BJP announced its own 'yatras'.

While criticising former party MLA Rajaram Pandey for switching over to the SP, Mr Paswan said the party would identify candidates during the course of the rally on the basis of their ''loyalty to party ideology''.

Former Prime Minister V P Singh, CPI leader A B Bardhan and Dalit Sena President Ramchandra Paswan would be among those addressing the rally at Ghaziabad tomorrow, he said.

Aiming to cut into the RJD's Muslim-Yadav vote base, Mr Paswan had floated the idea of a Muslim Chief Minister for Bihar ahead of the assembly polls there last year. The strength of his party was, however, reduced from 29 to 10 in the 243-member house.

UNI VN VV1814

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