BSP chief Mayawati on Wednesday named Raju Lodh as the party’s candidate against Congress president Sonia Gandhi from the Rae Bareli constituency in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
She had recently ousted Ram Lakhan Pasi, a Dalit leader first touted to take on Sonia, for indulging in anti-party activities.
Mayawati also clarified that Ram Achal Rajbhar, who is caught in a web of corruption cases, would continue to be the party chief in Uttar Pradesh. Earlier, the BSP had hinted that Rajbhar could be removed from the post after the Lokayukta indicted him for amassing disproportionate assets worth over `1,000 crore.
Stepping up the attack on the ruling SP Government in the state and consolidating her party’s organisational structure appeared to be Mayawati’s two-pronged strategy for the general elections. She said the party rank and file should remain alert and take up issues related to development and law and order. The more they work for the public cause the more support they will enjoy, she assured her colleagues.
Mayawati said people were looking upto the BSP as the SP Government’s image was in tatters. The BSP candidates should keep their image clean and work for public welfare, she said. Unlike in the past, Mayawati hasn’t fielded any notorious criminal as her party’s candidate. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, she had given the party tickets to mafia dons such as Mukhtar Ansari (Varanasi) and Arun Kumar Shukla alias Anna (Unnao).
All the tainted candidates had lost the elections as Mayawati was seen compromising on her anti-criminal stand.
The party announced that Rakeshdhar Tripathi will be the BSP candidate from Mirzapur while R K Chaudhary will contest from Lucknow’s Mohanlalganj constituency. Chaudhary has been re-inducted into the party after 12 years.
Mayawati said the people of the state were getting “depressed with the non-governance of the government and its inability to contain the spiraling crime graph”. She had recently alleged that women and girls were unsafe in the state and the government had abhorred its duty and responsibility.