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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

BSP MLAs’ defection to Congress in Rajasthan a jolt to Mayawati’s expansion plan

Targeting the Congress in a series of tweets, BSP president Mayawati, on Tuesday accused the grand old party of being unreliable and deceitful.

lucknow Updated: Sep 18, 2019 10:01 IST
Rajesh Kumar Singh
Rajesh Kumar Singh
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
BSP supremo Mayawati waves at party workers during a meeting, in Lucknow.
BSP supremo Mayawati waves at party workers during a meeting, in Lucknow. (PTI)
         

The defection of six Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLAs to the Congress in Rajasthan on Monday has come as another setback to Mayawati, who had recently started working on expanding the party base in other states.

Only in July, the BSP had suffered a jolt in Karnataka, where its lone MLA, N Mahesh, had refused to support the HD Kumaraswamy government in the floor test. Mahesh was expelled from the party after the Congress-JD (S) government collapsed following the floor test.

Targeting the Congress in a series of tweets, Mayawati on Tuesday, said the grand old party was unreliable and deceitful.

“Such moves are a betrayal to the BSP movement. The Congress has indulged in a dishonest act when the BSP has already extended unconditional support from outside to the Congress government in Rajasthan,” she said.

“Instead of fighting the BJP, the Congress is harming parties that are supporting it. Congress is against SC/ST/OBC. It was never serious and honest regarding reservation to these communities. The Congress has also been against BR Ambedkar and his ideology and that is why Ambedkar had to resign as the first law minister of the country. The Congress never honoured Ambedkar with Bharat Ratna. It is sad and shameful,” she said.

After winning 10 seats in the Lok Sabha election this year, the BSP chief had started preparations for the assembly election in Haryana, Maharashtra and Jharkhand. Party sources said she held half a dozen meetings with party leaders and office-bearers to review preparations and finalize candidates in three states.

She had also rejigged the state units to galvanize cadre and strengthen party base.

During Lok Sabha elections, she supported the Congress governments in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh but turned down alliance offer from the grand old party at the national stage. Instead, she focused on alliance with regional parties to prepare a non-Congress and non-BJP front.

Party sources said Mayawati was maintaining a close watch on the political activities in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh where her party was supporting the Congress governments.

During the Lok Sabha election, she had threatened to withdraw support from the Congress in Madhya Pradesh after party candidate from Guna Lok Sabha seat extended support to the Congress candidate. Following this, the BSP chief appointed her trusted aides Sunil Kumar Chitoor as in-charge of Rajasthan and Ramji Gautam in-charge of Madhya Pradesh.

During the national executive meeting on August 28, Mayawati collected feedback from the office-bearers and MLAs of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. She had cautioned party leaders against the design of the Congress and the BJP to weaken the BSP.

A senior BSP leader, who did not wish to be named, said fearing that in Madhya Pradesh too the Congress might try to win over the two party MLAs, the BSP chief had directed party in-charge Ramji Gautam to remain in constant contact with the MLAs, Sanjeev Singh Kushwaha and Rama Bai, after the duo had demanded cabinet posts from chief minister Kamal Nath.

A political observer RK Gautam said, earlier too BSP MLAs in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh had defected to the political party in power.

Having bagged 4% to 5% votes in last two consecutive assembly elections, the BSP continues to maintain hold over its vote base in both Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. “That’s because the BSP continues to enjoy support among the scheduled caste and the scheduled tribe voters in both the states,” said Gautam.

First Published: Sep 17, 2019 22:08 IST

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