Lucknow, Jan 16 Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati Sunday released the names of all 403 candidates for the February 8-March 4 assembly elections, with the list comprising more upper castes, backward classes and minority nominees than Dalits.
She also announced her party would contest the polls in Uttarakhand and Punjab too.
The list, whose break-up Mayawati herself gave at her 56th birthday celebration at the state party headquarters here, indicated that she was out to once again try out her social engineering that had propelled her to power in 2007, bagging 213 seats in the 403-member state assembly.
Claiming that unlike her political rivals, she meant business by declaring her party's entire list at one go, she appealed to party workers to ensure the return of BSP to power as their "birthday gift" to her.
"My list of candidates has 117 upper castes with as many as 74 Brahmins. Besides there are 113 other backward classes (OBCs), 88 Scheduled Castes and 85 Muslims," Mayawati declared, seeking to highlight how she had taken care to give due representation to all castes.
She claimed that during her selection of candidates, she laid much emphasis on factors like "clean image and their commitment to the BSP mission as well as their devotion to their respective areas of operation".
Regretting the selection of certain candidates at the last election, she observed, "some undesirable persons from other parties managed to sneak into our party and mislead us into getting ticket at the last election".
"But eventually they got exposed when we saw how after winning elections, they got involved solely in seeking personal aggrandizement while putting the party and my government to disrepute."
"It was important to weed them out, so they were denied a BSP ticket this time - and that includes not only MLAs but also some ministers whom I also removed from the cabinet."
She emphasised tickets have now been awarded only to "committed people who will give priority to development of their constituencies and work towards the larger interests of the people living there."
She declared that her party was going to contest all seats in Uttarakhand and Punjab too.
Mayawati also released the seventh volume of her serialised autobiography titled "A Travelogue of My Struggle-Ridden Life and BSP Movement" together with her party's election manifesto and a CD of songs appealing to the people to vote for her party.
"The book contains an account of contemporary history and challenges faced by the party and measures taken by me over the past one year for the larger good of the state and its people," she added.