Thursday, January 19, 2012

[ZESTCaste] BSP to go it alone in BMC polls

BSP to go it alone in BMC polls
Published: Thursday, Jan 19, 2012, 8:45 IST
By Amberish K Diwanji | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Contrary to the various Republican Party of India factions, who have
teamed up with one or the other party for the upcoming BMC polls, the
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) plans to contest in 50 of the city's 227
wards, albeit sans any ally.

Moreover, in keeping with the formula that swept it to power in Uttar
Pradesh in 2007, the BSP while releasing its nominee list on Wednesday
said it comprises Dalits, north Indians, and Muslims to represent the
weakest segments of the city, a sentiment echoed by the Republican
Party of India (A) chief Ramdas Athavale on the same day.

Stating that north Indians have realised that the Congress was backing
the MNS, which had attacked north Indians a couple of years ago to win
votes, BSP Maharashtra unit president Vilas Garud said, "North Indians
realise the Congress is using them and want to move away." While
flaying the various RPI factions for dividing the Dalit votes, Garud
came out strongly against Ramdas Athavale for "shifting from the
Congress-NCP camp to the Sena-BJP". "This kind of shifting only helps
the major parties, and not the Dalit parties or society," he added.

Pointing out that RPI (A) has allied with the Shiv-Sena-BJP, RPI
(Kawade) with the Congress and Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Dalit
icon Dr BR Ambedkar, is allied with the NCP, Garud said his party's
aim was grab power in the long run. "And this could be only achieved
by contesting independently. (Dr Babasaheb) Ambedkar had said this
party (the original Republican Party of India) would take time to bear
fruit. We are willing to wait," Garud said.

Meanwhile, Athavale declared that his party too would be fielding
non-Dalit candidates from its allotted 29 seats.He said about half his
candidates would be non-Dalits. Incidentally, 22 of the 29 wards with
Athavale are in the non-reserved category.

And seeking to take on the BSP on its home turf, UP, he announced that
the RPI (A) wouldbe contesting the state elections in Uttar Pradesh,
Punjab, and Manipur. Interestingly, Athavale is playing the Dalit card
in UP. "In UP, Dalit voters have turned away from the BSP which is
fielding non-Dalit candidates and we expect to get their votes," he


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