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Karnataka developments enhance Mayawati’s political stature

The Bahujan Samaj Party, which played a pivotal role in the Janata Dal and the Congress swiftly sewing up a post-poll alliance in Karnataka, is likely to join the coalition government in the southern state.

lucknow Updated: May 21, 2018 13:28 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Karnataka elections,Mayawati,Political stature
Mayawati’s official residence in Lucknow.(HT Photo)

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which played a pivotal role in the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Congress swiftly sewing up a post-poll alliance in Karnataka, is likely to join the coalition government in the southern state.

The BSP’s lone MLA N Mahesh is likely to be accommodated in the HD Kumaraswamy cabinet, a BSP leader said and added party chief Mayawati will attend the oath-taking ceremony of the JD(S) leader as the new Karnataka chief minister on Wednesday. The JD (S) had contested the assembly election in alliance with the BSP.

The BSP opened its account in the southern state, winning the Kollegal assembly seat where N Mahesh defeated his nearest rival AR Krishna Murthy of the Congress by 19,454 votes.

Mahesh, who heads the BSP’s Karnataka unit, did not stay in a hotel or a resort with JD (S)- Congress MLAs. Instead, he put up with senior BSP leader Ashok Siddharth in a guesthouse in Bengaluru.

“Mahesh had informed the BSP leaders that he had rejected the BJP’s offer to support BS Yeddyurappa. He told them to contact party national president Mayawati. He will support the Janata Dal (Secular). Mahesh will definitely get a reward for his loyalty to the BSP chief and the JD (S),” the BSP leader said.

Mayawati had played an important role in stitching the JD (S)- Congress alliance when it became clear that the assembly election had thrown up a hung house. She was in regular touch with senior JD (S) and Congress leaders to counter BJP strategy to engineer defection in the JD (S) or Congress ranks.

The BSP was playing a key role in government formation outside UP for the first time, the BSP leader said.

RK Gautam, a political observer, said although the BSP was a small player in Karnataka politics, the fact that that the stage was set for the formation of a non-BJP government had enhanced BSP chief Mayawati’s political stature.

Mayawati, considered a Dalit leader with a pan- India appeal, was working to make the BSP a player in national politics, he said.

After three consecutive defeats in 2012 assembly election, 2014 Lok Sabha polls and 2017 assembly election, Mayawati is opting for alliance politics to regain lost ground.

While the BSP has tied up with its arch-rival SP in UP, it has formed an alliance with Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in Haryana, Gautam said.

The BSP chief is now gearing the party up for the Rajasthan, Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh assembly elections due by the year- end.

People familiar with the matter said Congress leaders had approached Mayawati for a pre-poll alliance in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, but she was yet to respond to the offer.

Mayawati is camping in Delhi to finalise the candidates for the assembly election in three states. She is likely to visit Lucknow after the oath-taking ceremony in Karnataka to review the party’s preparation for the Lok Sabha election in UP. State BSP leaders have been directed to constitute booth committees and submit their report to the party chief.

First Published: May 21, 2018 13:28 IST