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Dalit Queen's party set to contest for 500 of 543 parliamentary seats

 Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati — a political diva sometimes called the “Dalit Queen” for her imperious manner with upper caste rivals and her opulent lifestyle — is pulling out all the stops in her bid to become India's first “untouchable” prime minister, says an Indian paper.

Quoting a top BSP leader, the Indian Express reports that Mayawati fixed March 20 as her deadline for finalizing the candidates' lists for all states. The party's main focus will be on Kerala, Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarth and Uttarakhand, apart from the Dalit Queen's home state stronghold of Uttar Pradesh — which accounts for more parliamentary constituencies than any other Indian state. "Except small states like Arunachal and Manipur, the party had contested elections in almost every state in the past, but this is the first time it is contesting so many seats," the paper quoted the leader as saying.

Maybe the pundits I spoke to before Mayawati's birthday in January knew what they were talking about.  With the major national parties struggling to form seat-sharing arrangements with their alliance partners, it looks like the diva may know something. 

http://www.globalpost.com/notebook/india/090311/dalit-queens-party-set-contest-500-543-parliamentary-seats