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‘What have you done for your caste’? Question BSP leaders must answer for UP poll ticket

BSP leaders say prospective candidates have to provide information not just of what they have done for their castes but also the Bahujan movement. 

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Lucknow: With the UP assembly elections approaching, the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has started inviting applications for candidates in every constituency of the state. 

The party has set some norms, chief among which is that prospective candidates have to provide details of what they have done for their respective ‘samaj’. 

According to BSP functionaries, ‘samaj’ in the applications refers to caste.

One party functionary told ThePrint on the condition of anonymity that if an applicant is a Brahmin, then he or she should mention the work they have done for the Brahmin community in the constituency they hope to contest in. 

They should mention about the meetings, nukkad sabhas, dharnas (protests) they have organised for their samaj.

“All this can be mentioned in 250-300 words,” the functionary said. “Applicants should give these details apart from the other achievements in the field of politics and personal details.”

A second functionary told ThePrint that apart from contribution to their castes, candidates should also provide details of their connection to the Bahujan movement. 

“What was the role and how many days did they spend for the movement? Candidates should also mention family background and profession details in the application,” the functionary said.  

He added that the party is planning to complete the procedure by the end of September so that tickets can be finalised in October.

According to him, the party is planning to announce its candidates by November, way ahead of the elections.

Also read: Mathura, Kashi, Ayodhya & more on the map in new BJP plan for OBC outreach in UP

Candidates to give interview

Sources in BSP confirmed that the party has made changes to its candidate shortlisting criteria this time. 

One BSP leader said the party has adopted a full-fledged professional manner in inviting applications in every constituency. He said that a committee led by the party’s district unit head has been authorised to shortlist 10 applications in every constituency. 

“After shortlisting, a committee, including the state president and senior state leaders, will shortlist two or three applications before Behenji (Mayawati) will finalise the candidate. This time she will do a one-on-one interview,” the BSP leader said. 

The leader added that for collecting and shortlisting the applications, written guidelines have been released for district presidents. 

“All district presidents have to check all the required columns in CV which includes details about the contribution to the samaj (caste), contributions to the Bahujan movement, views on BSP’s ideology etc,” he said. “They also have been directed to check the criminal history of the candidates.” 

Chintamani Verma, the BSP’s Prayagraj unit district president, said they are collecting the information as the caste factor is important in a number of seats. “We are also focussing on clean faces (saaf sutri image waale) for the tickets,” Verma said. 

BSP spokesperson Faizan Khan said the party is only collecting basic information. 

“There is nothing wrong if we are collecting information about the background details and contributions to the samaj,” he said. “This is all basic information that all parties collect. We are also doing it. It’s an old pattern but we are doing it in a transparent way this time.”

(Edited by Arun Prashanth)

Also read: SP, Congress hit out at BJP over President Kovind’s UP trip, months before assembly polls


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