Amidst signs of ties warming up between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday sought to reach out to the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party which withdrew support to the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre.
With Mayawati having cited the UPA government's alleged discrimination of Uttar Pradesh as one of the reasons for the withdrawal of her party's support, the BJP's prime ministerial candidate L K Advani said his party, if voted back to power at the Centre, would treat the state "without prejudice".
"Let me assure Uttar Pradesh through the people of Kanpur that if the National Democratic Alliance comes to power under the BJP's leadership..our government will not discriminate against any state government especially with a state that is Ganga and Yamuna (Uttar Pradesh)," Advani told a rally in Kanpur.
"Secondly, I believe that UP, with a population of nearly 18 crore, is too important to be ignored. Indeed, it must get the highest attention from any government at the Centre. India cannot achieve rapid and balanced progress if UP lags behind," Advani added.
Advani also sought to remind the people of the track record of the six-year rule of the NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee to drive home his point and said "how can a government neglect Uttar Pradesh"?
Without naming the Samajwadi Party, Advani said "one of the two major parties" in the state was "engaged in efforts to save UPA government at the Centre".
During his half-an-hour speech, Advani did not attack the Mayawati government and concentrated more on attacking the UPA dispensation at the centre. He suggested BJP had an "important role" in helping the BSP return to power in Uttar Pradesh by its sustained campaign against the SP government during the assembly polls, the people had this clear message that now it is BSP which can form the government in this state".
"During NDA rule, I tried my level best to resolve demands of all states, whoever came to me with their problems without any discrimation," the former deputy prime minister said.
Advani also said that at a meeting of ten NDA-ruled states some time back he was told by the states in one voice that the UPA government was "ignoring and overlooking" them all in developmental projects.
Sources said the BJP, which is in search of more allies in the run up to Lok Sabha polls, wants to keep its option open with regard to BSP. "An understanding with BSP cannot be ignored but it would be surely a post-poll arrangement, if it happens", a senior BJP leader told PTI.