BSP, RPI tie-up talks in Maha may hurt Grand Al­liance plan

An­other front on the cards in Ra­jasthan

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - HTNATION - Faisal Ma­lik­lik@hin­dus­tan­


JAIPUR : In the election sea­son all lead­ers are out to try their luck. Apart from the two main par­ties, the BJP and Congress, lead­ers of smaller par­ties are try­ing to have some im­pact in the state’s elec­toral pol­i­tics. In­de­pen­dent MLA and Jat leader Hanu­man Beni­wal on Satur­day said that he was in touch with lead­ers from Left par­ties and for­mer BJP MLA Ghan­shyam Ti­wari, who has launched his own party, to launch a third front against the two main po­lit­i­cal par­ties in the state. They are also not rul­ing join­ing hands with the Bahu­jan Sa­maj Party (BSP) which got about five per­cent vote share in 2013 polls. Chan­draraj Singhvi, known for party hop­ping, believes that he could be a pos­si­ble chief min­is­te­rial can­di­date as the Congress and the BJP will not get ma­jor­ity in the forth­com­ing polls. Singhvi be­gan his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer with the Swatantra party in 1964, then went on to join the Congress, then BJP, the BSP, JD(U). MUM­BAI: In what could be a blow to the Congress and Na­tion­al­ist Congress Party’s (NCP) plan of form­ing a grand Op­po­si­tion al­liance against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in next year’s Lok Sabha elec­tions, the Bahu­jan Sa­maj Party (BSP) is likely to join hands with the Repub­li­can Party of In­dia (RPI) in Ma­ha­rash­tra. Af­ter a meet­ing be­tween its lead­ers on Satur­day, BSP and RPI have agreed to “ex­plore pos­si­bil­i­ties for forg­ing an al­liance”.

The Mayawati-led party has al­ready an­nounced that it would not have any al­liance with the Congress in the Ch­hat­tis­garh, Mad­hya Pradesh and Ra­jasthan As­sem­bly elec­tions slated in Novem­ber and De­cem­ber.

The like­li­hood of an al­liance be­tween Mayawati and RPI chief Ra­jen­dra Gawai as­sumes more sig­nif­i­cance given that Prakash Ambed­kar’s Bharip Bahu­jan Ma­hasangh and Asad­dudin Owaisi’s All In­dia Ma­jlis-e-it­te­hadul Mus­limeen will tie-up in Ma­ha­rash­tra for Lok Sabha polls.

Gawai met Suresh Sakhare, BSP’S state unit pres­i­dent, and Pramod Raina, BSP’S Ma­ha­rash­tra in-charge, on Satur­day. The RPI chief is also likely to meet Mayawati in Luc­know soon to dis­cuss seat-shar­ing and other modal­i­ties for the al­liance.

“We [BSP and RPI] are ex­plor­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties of com­ing to­gether for the Lok Sabha polls. We had ini­tial level talks in which I have pro­posed to con­test in 10 Lok Sabha con­stituen­cies. The pro­posal will be pre­sented be­fore the BSP chief,” Gawai said.

How­ever, Gawai clar­i­fied that he has kept his “op­tions open” and is not just in talks with BSP. “This doesn’t mean we have de­cided not to forge al­liance with Congress and NCP. We have kept all our op­tions open. As RPI chief, I am in talks with both sides — Congress-ncp and BSP.”

The BSP, on the other hand, was cau­tious and Sakhare de­nied meet­ing Gawai. When asked about al­ly­ing with Con­gressNCP, Sakhare said, “I am just a BSP worker. The de­ci­sion has to be taken by the BSP chief.”

The RPI-BSP com­bine may at­tract sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of Dalit vot­ers, es­pe­cially in Vi­darbha re­gion. BSP has a size­able vote bank in all 10 Lok Sabha con­stituen­cies in 11 dis­tricts of the re­gion. In 2014, BSP had polled over 90,000 votes in four con­stituen­cies, while on four seats, they had polled around 50,000 votes.

Gawai, too, has a sig­nif­i­cant pres­ence in Am­ra­vati. In 2009, he had 2.52 lakh votes, but in 2014, he could poll only 56,000 votes.

To counter the rul­ing BJP, the Congress and NCP have de­clared to forge a pre-poll al­liance in 2019. They are mak­ing joint ef­forts to form a mega al­liance by get­ting smaller par­ties into the fold. State Congress pres­i­dent Ashok Cha­van seemed hope­ful and said they don’t want di­vi­sion of sec­u­lar votes and were try­ing to bring all the sec­u­lar par­ties on board. “We be­lieve that Rpi-gawai will join us for the polls...,” he said.

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