Mayawati’s BSP in demand as parties seek alliance after UP bypolls win
The Congress is keen on a tie-up with Mayawati in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh that are going to polls along with Rajasthan later this year.india Updated: Apr 19, 2018 14:53 IST
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is much in demand this poll season, with several leaders making a beeline for an electoral understanding with Mayawati’s party.
The rush is triggered by the stunning victory of the Samajwadi Party (SP)-BSP coalition in last month’s by-elections in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, the constituencies represented by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya respectively.
On Wednesday, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) announced its alliance with the BSP for next year’s assembly elections in Haryana. The two parties will also have a tie-up in Rajasthan, where elections are due in November this year.
In the 2014 assembly elections in Haryana, the BSP had secured a vote share of 4.37%, winning one of the 87 seats it contested. On the other hand, the INLD had won 19 of the total 90 seats and bagged a vote share of 24.11%. According to the 2011 census, Dalits constitute roughly 20% of Haryana’s total 25 million population.
Prior to this, the BSP and the Janata Dal (Secular) of former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda joined hands for the May 12 assembly elections in Karnataka.
The BSP had unsuccessfully contested on 175 seats in Karnataka in the 2013 assembly elections and got a vote share of just 0.91%. For its part, the JD(S) had won 40 seats and secured a vote share of 20.19%.
In Karnataka, Dalits make up 19.5% of the total population of 65 million.
Though the Congress did not join the SP-BSP alliance in Uttar Pradesh bypolls, the grand old party is keen on a tie-up with Mayawati in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh that are going to polls along with Rajasthan later this year.
BSP leaders too have expressed their willingness to strike an understanding with the Congress to oust the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from power in Chhattisgarh.
The BJP is ruling the state uninterrupted since 2003.
Senior BSP leader and Chhattisgarh incharge ML Bharti had announced in state capital Raipur last month that his party was ready for an alliance with the Congress.
However, he said much would depend on the Congress party’s readiness to give a respectable deal to the BSP in seat-sharing.
State Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel had also publicly expressed his willingness to join hands with the BSP on some seats for the upcoming assembly elections. But the support of lone BSP legislator Keshav Chandra to BJP’s Saroj Pandey in last month’s Rajya Sabha elections might have come as a setback for the Congress.
In the 2013 assembly elections, the BSP had fought on all the 90 seats, winning one and accounting for a vote share of 4.27%. Dalits constitute 11.6% of the tribal-dominated state’s 26 million population.
In Madhya Pradesh too, Congress leaders, including state chief Arun Yadav, have not ruled out a tie-up with the BSP for the upcoming elections.
Leader of the Opposition in the Madhya Pradesh assembly, Ajay Singh, and senior Congress leader Chandrika Prasad Dwivedi had recently stated that the grand old party should talk to the BSP and try to dethrone the saffron party after ruling the state for 15 years.
The BSP had contested on 227 out of the total 230 seats in the 2013 assembly elections.
Having considerable presence in northern Madhya Pradesh, especially in Morena, it won four seats and bagged a vote share of 6.29%. The BSP had supported Congress candidate Vivek Tankha in the 2016 Rajya Sabha elections from the state.
Dalits account for more than 15% of Madhya Pradesh’s 75 million-population.
Political analysts attribute the trend to the attempt by various political parties to “woo and motivate” the Dalit votes.
“It is just symbolic. Mayawati has no direct contact and control with Dalits across the country but she is a symbolic attraction for them,” said professor Badri Narayan of the Allahabad-based Govind Ballabh Pant Social Science Institute.
First Published: Apr 19, 2018 07:25 IST