Lucknow, Nov 9 (IANS) Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) President Mayawati has started screening and short-listing candidates for the 403 seats in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, which are still a year-and-a-half away.
The move comes after seven BSP MLAs were suspended last month when they revolted against the party candidate in the Rajya Sabha elections.
The seven rebel MLAs, namely Aslam Raini, Aslam Chaudhary, Muztaba Siddiqui, Hakim Lal Bind, Hargovind Bhargava, Sushma Patel and Vandana Singh, will not be given tickets for the next elections by the BSP. They are likely to move to the Samajwadi Party.
The party coordinators have already informed some of the remaining MLAs that they may not be re-nominated because their position in their constituencies is ‘shaky’.
Party sources further said that Mayawati, this time, wants to focus more on loyalty of prospective candidates because the BSP has been highly susceptible to splits.
BSP coordinators have been asked to do a background check of the applicants and ensure that they do not succumb to pressures.
In the 2022 Assembly elections, the BSP will face a new challenge from the Azad Samaj Party which is the political offshoot of the Bhim Army.
Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad has emerged as a major threat to the BSP by reaching out constantly to victims of Dalit atrocities in the state.
Besides, Azad has developed a substantial following among Dalit youth which could prove detrimental to BSP’s interests in 2022.
A senior BSP functionary said, “For the BSP, the 2022 Assembly elections are extremely crucial because we need to regain lost glory and make a bid for power. The party, in all probability, will go alone because our previous alliance with the Samajwadi Party did not work tor advantage. There is pressure to continue the Grand United Secular Front (GUSF) after the Bihar elections, but it is ‘Behenji’ (Mayawati) who will take the final decision.”
Shaukat Ali, the UP chief of AIMIM, has already said that the GUSF should contest elections in Uttar Pradesh too, to stop the BJP from returning to power.
The GUSF comprises Rashtriya Lok Samta Party, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), Samajwadi Janata Dal Democratic, Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) and Janvadi Party Socialist.