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BSP asks its supporters to vote for Congress

The Bahujan Samaj Party has launched an aggressive "word of mouth" campaign in the Gwalior-Chambal and Rewa-Satna regions, asking its party cadres to vote for the Congress, wherever its candidates are weak.

india Updated: Nov 30, 2003 18:15 IST

In a significant development, the Bahujan Samaj Party has launched an aggressive "word of mouth" campaign in the Gwalior-Chambal and Rewa-Satna regions, asking its party cadres to vote for the Congress in the constituencies where the BSP is not in a position to win.

Both the BSP and Congress leaders admit that they have reached an understanding. In the constituencies where the BSP is weak, it is asking its voters to support the Congress because the split in votes might help the BJP.

The Congress will do the same in constituencies where the BSP candidates are strong. However, both the parties are unwilling to go on record about the tacit understanding between them.

With the BSP vote being seen as transferable, the latest move, though expected, will have a major bearing on the outcome of the elections.

In the 1998 assembly polls, the BSP had won four of the 34 seats in the Gwalior-Chambal region and five of the 28 seats in the Rewa-Satna belt.

The exit of Phool Singh Baraiya, former state BSP chief who was opposed to any tie-up with the Congress, has dealt a blow to the party's prospects in the Gwalior region.

Earlier this month in Delhi, BSP supremo Mayawati had indicated that in areas where the BSP was weak, she had directed her party workers to support the candidate who could defeat the BJP.

BSP sources pointed out that in some areas in the Rewa-Satna region, their party had done well in the previous elections. The Congress was extending help to the BSP so that the party could improve its tally.

"We are supporting the BSP primarily in some area of the Rewa-Satna belt. But in return we will benefit in a big way in Gwalior-Chambal, Maha Kaushal and the Bundelkhand regions," a senior Congress leader here said.

First Published: Nov 30, 2003 17:45 IST