Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati announced two candidates, including former Congressman Imran Masood's brother, for assembly constituencies in Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur districts of western Uttar Pradesh that go to polls in the first phase.
In a tweet, the BSP chief announced Salman Sayeed as the party's candidate from Charthawal and Noman Masood from Gangoh assembly seats.
"Salman Sayeed, son of former Uttar Pradesh home minister Saiduzzaman, met the BSP president late on Wednesday evening and joined the BSP after quitting the Congress. Sayeed has been fielded by the BSP as its candidate from Charthawal," Mayawati tweeted in Hindi.
In a related tweet, the BSP leader posted, "Noman Masood, nephew of former Union minister Rashid Masood and brother of Imran Masood also joined the BSP yesterday (Wednesday) leaving the Lok Dal.
Meanwhile, BSP general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra said, “The party has decided at least 300 of its total 403 candidates for the Uttar Pradesh polls and of these, 90 are Dalits and their number will rise as candidates for the rest of the seats are decided. Wherever BSP leaders are holding rallies, the names of candidates are made known to the people and nominees are being told to get going. BSP president Mayawati and other senior leaders have been deeply studying every assembly constituency for the past one year and judging candidates after gathering inputs from the locals.”
Taking a swipe at rival parties, Mishra said that the Bharatiya Janata Party and Samajwadi Party were yet to finalise their candidates as the two parties lacked confidence in their leaders.
To a question on Brahmin and Muslim candidates, the BSP leader replied, "You will know when the list is formally declared after Mayawati's birthday on January 15."
Replying to Mayawati's conspicuous absence from the poll campaign so far, Mishra said that he alone had addressed around 96 rallies in all 75 districts of the state. Other BSP leaders had also addressed several public meetings to prepare a solid ground for the party, he added.
Mayawati has already announced that the BSP is seeking to go with its winning formula of 2007, focusing on Dalits and Brahmins in the February-March polls. The party also commands a substantial vote share among Muslim community. While Dalits constitute over 20 per cent of the population in Uttar Pradesh, Brahmins are 13 per cent and Muslims approximately 20 per cent.