LUCKNOW (TIP): The BSP will petition the Election Commission to direct the Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh to drop the word ‘Samajwadi’ from its various welfare programmes.
Two years ago, a similar petition by SP had led to the EC ordering covers on statues and memorials to BSP leaders, including Mayawati, as these had elephant motifs — the election symbol of BSP. As a result, over 200 elephant statues were draped in pink polythene in Lucknow and Noida at a cost of Rs 1 crore as per the EC order.
Pink was chosen as a neutral hue as it didn’t represent any party’s official colour. The UP government has tagged its ‘108’ medical emergency service ‘Samajwadi’ Ambulance Service. It’s being run in 40 districts across UP. In all, there are over 1,000 such ambulances across the state. Likewise, the ‘Samajwadi’ pension scheme is being used to woo dalits, OBCs and Muslims.
According to a government order of February 6, the scheme aims to cater to 12 lakh SC/ST and 10 lakh minority (essentially Muslims) families across the state. BSP sources said the party would petition EC to get the word ‘Samajwadi’ covered. Confirming this, BSP state president, Ram Achal Rajbhar, said it gave undue electoral and political advantage to the SP in the state. “Now that the election code of conduct is out, the petition is being drafted to be sent to the EC,” Rajbhar told TOI.
He said the word is being deliberately used by the SP government to influence voters in various districts. UP chief electoral officer Umesh Sinha said EC would certainly be looking at the issue. EC sources said the draping of statues was backed by a petition, based on which there was a specific directive from the Supreme Court. “We’ll go into why such a demand is being put forth and then commission will take a decision,” said a senior EC official. The official said the commission can’t sit as a mute spectator when the ruling party takes political advantage and campaign at the government’s expense