Mayawati to launch 52-day poll campaign from Kerala Saturday (Lead)

March 20th, 2009 - 6:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Bahujan Samaj Party Lucknow, March 20 (IANS) Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati will fly down to Kerala to launch her nationwide 52-day-long poll campaign from Thiruvananthapuram Saturday.
“Kerala was picked as my first destination simply because I was keen to kick start the campaign from a state where our party was still in a nascent stage,” Mayawati said at a press conference here Friday.

However, she declined to reveal how many seats her party proposed to contest across the country.

“We will make a formal announcement over the next four of five days with a list of states where we will field candidates, as also the exact number of seats we propose to contest out of the 543 Lok Sabha seats in the country,” she said.

Earlier, Mayawati named the party candidates for the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh. She said her party would also field candidates in all 20 parliamentary constituencies in Kerala.

The BSP chief, who is the only star campaigner for her party, said she will go around the entire country, apart from the north-eastern states, between March 21 and May 11.

“My last election rally will be held on May 11,” she said, adding: “Despite my hectic schedule, I will make it a point to return every night to Lucknow, so that I can attend to my duties as chief minister of the country’s most populous state too.”

“In any case, wherever I may be, I will be keeping track of every development back home here; after all it is election time and we need to guard against any kind of mischief by the opposition,” she said.

Mayawati asserted she would ensure a “free and fair election” under all circumstances.

“We will not allow any kind of booth capturing and see to it that every legitimate voter gets a chance to exercise their right to franchise,” she said.

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