BJP criticised BSP's decision to contest the upcoming urban body elections on the party symbol after a gap of more than two decades, dubbing it as a "desperate" move for survival.
At a meeting of party leaders of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand convened by BSP supremo Mayawati, detailed discussions were held on the issue of upcoming urban body elections in the state, and it was decided that they will be contested on the party symbol of elephant, said a statement issued in Lucknow.
The meeting stressed on dealing with fresh challenges through a new strategy. BJP spokesperson Manish Shukla termed the move as the last alternative for Mayawati's party to "politically" survive in UP and maintain its relevance.
"In a democracy, a political party cannot afford to ignore people and voters for a long time. The desperate move of the BSP proves that it is fighting a battle of survival in UP to maintain its relevance politically following its drubbing in the UP Assembly elections", Shukla told PTI.
"So far, the BSP has stayed away from contesting the urban local bodies polls and concentrated only on the assembly and parliamentary elections. But after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and recent UP Assembly elections, the BSP may have realised its shortcomings. But it is too late", he said.
The BSP had failed to win a single seat in UP in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, while it got just 19 seats in the 403-member UP Assembly this time.
Though the BSP's base is not as strong in urban areas (compared to rural areas), the decision to contest the local bodies polls has been taken in view of the growth in people's support in urban areas as well, the BSP release said.
"The party will try to give good results with the help of sarv samaj (entire society)", it said quoting the party chief.
The BSP has not fought the urban body polls on party ticket after 1995 but Wednesday's decision was taken following a demand to this effect from its leaders who felt it was time to make the party's presence felt in the state, especially after the debacle in the recent assembly polls, party insiders said.
Reviewing the present political situation, Mayawati directed the leaders to increase the BSP's support base among the entire society while facing new challenges, the release said.
"There is a need to work with renewed vigour and missionary zeal through a new strategy to deal with new challenges before the BSP movement", she said.
"Although the BSP movement is on a solid footing in the state but ever since the Assembly poll results which have not been in keeping with our hopes and preparations, casteist and communal forces are upbeat and are spreading rumours to demoralise our party workers", the BSP chief said.
"To divert attention from EVM tampering, they are trying to mislead the people through false propaganda", she said, adding the manner in which the BJP is working with the support of the RSS poses a risk to democracy.
"If the Constitution and democracy are not kept alive in true spirit, the doors to power will be closed for Dalits and backwards, and they will remain deprived forever", she said.