Sunday, Apr 27, 2003
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By Neena Vyas
``Seat-sharing is high on the agenda of Ms. Mayawati,'' a senior BJP leader said here today while pointing out ``she always likes to do this home-work well in advance to give her party's candidates enough time to prepare for the electoral battle.''
The crisis facing U.P. sugarcane farmers who have no buyers for their produce and other issues such as powercuts are expected to be taken up.
Party sources said that Mr. Advani was also certain to bring up issues related to the functioning of the coalition government, which has been worrying the party leadership here.
Three days ago, when a U.P.-related meeting of the BJP took place here, the majority view favoured ending the partnership with the BSP, but the view of the top leadership was that there was no gain for the BJP in withdrawing support to Ms. Mayawati. One of its leaders said today that had the Samajwadi Party launched a major campaign against Ms. Mayawati's ``politics of vendetta'' the BJP might have been forced to opt out of the State Government ``as many BJP workers may have joined the agitation''. But that did not happen and the party was very much inclined to continue with the coalition, even if it was not very comfortable doing so.
There is a view that while many have been blaming the alliance with the BSP for the dismal state of affairs, the party finds itself in the State, the harsh reality is that infighting in the BJP at the State level and the lack of a cohesive strategy at the central level are also responsible. After all, it was not the BSP which forced the BJP to change three Chief Ministers in the State within four-and-a-half years, nor was the BSP responsible for the ouster of the former Chief Minister, Kalyan Singh, from the party.
Incidentally, the party general secretary, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, said today that there was no proposal and no discussion about the return of Mr. Singh to the BJP at any level in the party. ``Nobody has suggested this, neither from the BJP nor on behalf of Mr. Singh, and there has been no official discussion between the BJP and Mr. Singh on this''. He ruled out any question of Mr. Singh's return to the BJP. And if any proof was needed, he pointed out that even today, newspapers had reported him as having described Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee as a ``tired Prime Minister'' and the BJP leadership as ``cowardly''.
The party has decided to continue with its programme to expand its social base. After the dalit rally in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, it has plans for a `samrasta' rally on May 28 in Rampur which has a 52 per cent Muslim population. Three or four more rallies are being planned over the next two months.
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