Ahead of the Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh next year, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Tuesday sought support from the Brahmin community and promised to ensure their safety if elected to power, ANI reported.

Mayawati said that the support from the Brahmins would help the party win a majority as it did in the 2007 polls in Uttar Pradesh. At that time, the party had managed to stitch together an unlikely voter base of the Brahmins and its traditional supporters, the Dalit community.

The party had fielded 86 Brahmin candidates in 2007, of which 40 were elected, according to The Caravan. Overall, the party had won 206 of the 403 constituencies in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly.

At a party programme in Lucknow, called the “Prabuddh Sammelan” (meeting of intellectuals), Mayawati claimed that Brahmins have agreed they were in a better position under her government when compared to the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The Bahujan Samaj Party chief said that if voted to power in Uttar Pradesh in 2022, she will implement the policy of “benefit for all, peace for all”, NDTV reported.

Mayawati added: “At the time [2007], we did not just look after the interests of Dalits and backwards but also of those from the upper castes. Our party is not for one caste or religion...it is a party for all sections of society.”

The politician claimed that the BJP and Samajwadi Party did not do anything to protect the interests of Brahmins and Dalits, PTI reported. She added that unlike them, her party will fulfill its promises.

Mayawati said that she would focus on governing Uttar Pradesh in the best possible way instead of building memorials and statues, NDTV reported.

“We do not need to make any new monuments or parks in the name of those who were our guiding lights – we have already done it thok ke bhaav [wholesale] in our previous terms,” she added.

Also read: BSP will contest UP, Uttarakhand Assembly elections alone, says Mayawati

BSP’s Brahmin outreach programme

The “Prabuddh Sammelan”, the event where Mayawati spoke on Tuesday, is a political initiative by the Bahujan Samaj Party to reach out to the Brahmin community. Brahmin organisations from 75 districts of Uttar Pradesh participated in Tuesday’s event, according to NDTV.

The first leg of the programme was held in Ayodhya on July 23. It was launched by the party’s senior Brahmin leader Satish Chandra Mishra.

The programme, which is scheduled to be held in various cities of Uttar Pradesh, was initially supposed to be called “Brahmin Sammelan”. However, the name was changed in accordance with a 2013 order by the Allahabad High Court which had banned caste-based political rallies and programmes, News18 reported.

In its efforts to woo the Brahmin community, the Bahujan Samaj Party had voiced its support for construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya at the programme in the city in July, according to The Caravan.

Mishra promised to expedite the construction of the temple and chanted the “Jai Shri Ram” slogan. The slogan, which hails the Hindu deity Ram, has assumed political significance due to its use by Hindutva supporters.

In July, Mishra had also decided to seek bail for Khushi Dubey, wife of Amar, the nephew of gangster Vikas Dubey, according to The Times of India. Amar, along with Vikas Dubey, were killed in a gunfight with the police in July, days after the gangster was arrested for the murder of eight police officers in a shootout in Kanpur’s Bikru village.

Khushi Dubey, a minor, has been charged with various offences including murder and criminal conspiracy. She is currently lodged at a juvenile centre in Barabanki town. The Bahujan Samaj Party’s decision to fight her legal battle is also being seen as an attempt to attract Brahmins as Vikas Dubey was a Brahmin and had an impact on voters from the community, according to The Times of India.