Wednesday, March 7, 2012

[ZESTCaste] UP election result: Mayawati blames Congress, BJP for defeat; says 70% Muslims picked Mulayam

UP election result: Mayawati blames Congress, BJP for defeat; says 70%
Muslims picked Mulayam

NDTV Correspondent, Updated: March 07, 2012 13:43 IST

Lucknow: Unfettered defeat often propels politicians to promise
introspection and admit that they failed to give voters what they
wanted. Not Mayawati. After resigning as Uttar Pradesh's chief
minister today, she praised her government for its hard work and
introduction of reforms. Her defeat, she said, was a direct result of
the communalization of the elections by the Congress and BJP.

Mayawati's attempt for a fifth term as chief minister was crushed by a
state exhausted by corruption, poverty, and an administration that
showed no interest in development. Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party won
80 seats, compared to the 206 it won in the last elections that had
placed her in power. Not only did Uttar Pradesh punish Mayawati, but
it turned overwhelmingly to her old political rival Mulayam Singh
Yadav, giving his Samajwadi Party a whopping 228 seats - the strongest
mandate for a party in UP in two decades.

Without referring to either him or his party by name, Mayawati said
70% of the state's Muslims, according to her party's analysis, had
voted for Mr Yadav. For this, she said, the two national parties, BJP
and Congress, must accept blame. Mayawati said the Congress created
the problem with its hard-selling of a special quota for Muslims in
jobs and universities. Hindu voters, she said, panicked and moved
towards the BJP, which played into their fears that the Congress would
promote Muslims at their expense. Meanwhile, Muslims found that the
Congress was not a strong enough party to back. So they opted for Mr

Further damage from the BJP, according to the Mayawati, came via its
pursuit of upper caste voters and Other Backward Castes (OBCs). As a
result, she said, these votebanks spread their support among different
parties including hers. Once again, she claims, Mr Yadav benefitted.

Mayawati was quick to claim that her traditional vote-bank of Dalits
or lower caste voters, stood by her. "I thank them from the bottom of
my heart," she said.

The former chief minister's laser-like focus on spread of votes is
understandable. In 2007, she arrived in power riding her version of a
rainbow coalition - she had managed to pitch her Bahujan Samaj Party
as a one-stop option for upper caste, Dalit and Muslim voters.
Candidates for those elections had been carefully arranged to
represent the different factions. And her much-analyzed social
engineering worked, with UP giving its first decisive verdict in two
decades. That meant Mayawati needed no partner to run the government
in UP. And she became the state's first chief minister to complete a
five-year term.

She said her party will work with its cadres on educating voters and
freeing them from "this trap of Hindu and Muslim politics."

In UP, state governments are known for using their power to target
political opponents, often by filing police cases against members of
other parties. Combatting political vendetta may pre-occupy the
former chief minister. But in Delhi, where she has 22 MPS in the Lok
SAbha, Mayawati may become a favourite of the Congress. Its own
miserable performance in UP and the four other states that just voted
has left the Congress authority within the UPA collation at the Centre
greatly diminished. Mamata Banerjee, the single biggest member of the
alliance after the Congress, has been taking on the party repeatedly
over crucial legislation and policy - she forced the Prime Minister to
suspend his planned reforms in retail, for example. In addition to Ms
Banerjee's wavering attention and loyalty, the Congress now has to
deal with a rejuvenated Samajwadi Party. Mr Yadav has in the past
rescued the Congress by voting with the government on important
matters. His supersize victory in Uttar Pradesh will give him more
bargaining power than ever before.

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