Heartland divorce with BSP may push BJP to Third Front

As long as all was well between the BSP and BJP in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP?s Delhi unit had been toying with the idea of a poll pact with the BSP for the coming elections in the state.

india Updated: Oct 13, 2003 15:16 IST

As long as all was well between the BSP and BJP in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP’s Delhi unit had been toying with the idea of a poll pact with the BSP for the coming elections in the state.

Now, the bottom has fallen out of these plans — calculated to cut into the Congress’s Dalit vote bank in the slum clusters and unauthorised colonies. These areas make up 40 per cent of Delhi’s electorate.

The BJP may now have to look for a new partner to attract the Dalit vote. One option could be the Third Front, comprising Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party and the Janata Dal (JD).

The JD, however, is no longer as strong as it was in 1993, when four of its leaders were elected to the assembly. Two of them, Parvesh Hashmi and Matin Ahmed, are now with the Congress. Ramvir Singh Bidhuri is with the Lok Janshakti. Only Shoaib Iqbal has stayed on.

The anti-Congress sentiment among Muslims had helped the JD in 1993. Its nominees came second in 18 seats, and spoiled Congress parties in 23. However, in 1998, Shoaib Iqbal was the only candidate who managed to keep the green flag flying.

The 2002 municipal elections saw the JD and Lok Janshakti decimated. The new force that emerged was the BSP. It got about 5 per cent of the vote despite a strong Congress wave. For the first time, the BSP won a seat in Delhi — Gokulpuri. In six wards, including Nand Nagri from where Standing Committee chairman Ram Babu Sharma won, BSP candidates were second. In another 15 they were either third or fourth.

It was probably this success story that had prompted the BJP to eye an alliance with the BSP for the polls.

First Published: Oct 13, 2003 15:16 IST