Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati confirmed on Wednesday that she will not be in the race for a Lok Sabha seat in the upcoming general election and will focus instead on the electoral campaign across the country to ensure the defeat of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Yet, the fact that she wouldn’t be in the Lok Sabha poll fray doesn’t mean that she is giving up her ambitions of becoming prime minister, Mayawati made it clear.

“When I became UP CM first time in 1995 I was not member of either UP Assembly or Council,” Mayawati wrote in a Twitter post, noting that a similar provision exists at the Centre, allowing a person to be elected to the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha “within 6 months of holding office of minister/PM”. “Don’t get disheartened from my decision not to contest LS poll now,” she said.

BSP?candidates contesting the Lok Sabha elections and party workers would back her decision, Mayawati said at a press conference. After the polls, depending on the political situation, she could have one of BSP MPs vacate a seat to seek election to the Lower House, Mayawati, 63, said.

Mayawati noted that she had won Lok Sabha elections four times, twice been elected to the Uttar Pradesh assembly and had been chief minister for four terms. To get elected to the Lok Sabha, she would have to just file her nomination papers and her party supporters would ensure her victory, she said. Yet, to make sure of a victory for her with a large margin, BSP workers would devote their energies to her constituency, which could adversely impact the campaign.

The BSP is fighting the Lok Sabha elections in an alliance with the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD). It is striving to remove the BJP from power at the Centre, Mayawati said, accusing the BJP of pursuing a communal and caste-based agenda; it’s also anti-poor, anti-labour and anti-farmer , she said. The BSP chief will kick off her party’s national campaign from Bhubaneswar on April 2.

Mayawati knows that riding on a wave around Prime Minister Narenda Modi, the BJP will retain power at the Centre, the BJP’s UP unit spokesperson Chandra Mohan said.

Political analyst AK Mishra said Mayawati was working to build the BSP into a pan-India entity, knowing that the BSP-SP-RLD alliance posed a formidable challenge to the BJP in UP.”
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