Ending weeks of speculation, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Sunday announced that it would be fielding Congress turncoat Arvind Sharma as its chief ministerial candidate in the upcoming Haryana assembly elections.
At a press conference in New Delhi, BSP president Mayawati announced Sharma's switching loyalities to her party after years in the Congress.
She said as most of the Haryana CMs had been from the Jat community, interests of other communities were always exploited in the state.?
Ever since Sharma lost in the recent Lok Sabha polls from Karnal to BJP’s Ashwini Kumar Chopra, he has been maintaining distance from the Congress.
Sharma, a native of Jhajjar district, has been one of the most vocal critics of chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Political observers, meanwhile, said the projection of Sharma, a Brahmin leader as the next CM, was an attempt by the BSP to polarise non-Jat voters.
Leaders like BJP state president Ram Bilas Sharma and Venod Sharma of the newly-floated Janchetna Party are also seen as Brahmin faces with pan-Haryana recognition.
“Arvind Sharma’s ambition to play a bigger political role is not a secret and the BSP may gain a position of decisiveness. This time it would be multi-cornered contest in the assembly elections with several claimants out to polarise non-Jat voters,” said a political observer who did not want to be named.
Though Sharma remained inaccessible on Sunday, his close aides hinted that he may contest from any assembly segment of the Karnal parliamentary constituency.