BSP, RPI may forge al­liance in Maha for Lok Sabha elec­tions

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Faisal Ma­lik

MUM­BAI: In what could be a blow to the Congress and Na­tion­al­ist Congress Party’s (NCP) plan to form a grand op­po­si­tion al­liance against the rul­ing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for 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 Prakash Ambed­kar’s Bharip Bahu­jan Ma­hasangh (BBM) and Asad­dudin Owaisi’s All In­dia Ma­jlise-it­te­hadul Mus­limeen (AIMIM) have de­cided to tie-up in Ma­ha­rash­tra for the 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.

CON­TIN­UED ON P 10

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