BSP chief Mayawati ties up with Ajit Jogi in Chhattisgarh, says will go solo in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
New Delhi: BSP president Mayawati Thursday announced an alliance with Ajit Jogi’s Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC), and has decided to go it alone in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, dealing a severe blow to the proposed mahagatbandan or united opposition alliance.
The three states are slated to go to the polls later this year.
“Our historic alliance will offer an alternative to the poor, Dalits, tribals, minorities, farmers, youth, women and small traders of Chhattisgarh,” said a press statement released by the BSP.
Under the arrangement, the JCC will contest in 55 seats while the BSP will field candidates in 35 seats. Jogi will be the alliance’s chief ministerial face.
Chhattisgarh has a 90-member assembly.
Also read: What exactly is Mayawati up to
Apart from Chhattisgarh, Mayawati also announced that her party will contest all the seats of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
The party released its first list of 22 candidates for the MP assembly elections.
Negotiations were on
The announcement has come at a time when seat-sharing negotiations were underway between the Congress and the BSP for all three states.
On 10 August, BSP leader Satish Chandra Misra had met senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel in Delhi and discussed a possible national alliance between the two parties. Sources said that the BSP had demanded 39 Lok Sabha seats in the six states, apart from UP.
Just three days ago, Mayawati said she would only be part of an alliance if she gets a respectable number of seats. Sources in both the Congress and BSP confirmed to ThePrint about the ongoing negotiations for the larger arrangement between the parties in the upcoming assembly polls.
“When discussions are still going on, she should have avoided going ahead with such an announcement,” said a senior Madhya Pradesh Congress leader.
But the BSP had stayed away from the Bharat Bandh called by the Congress. Mayawati had blamed both the Congress and the BJP of being responsible for the fuel price hike.
A miffed Mayawati
ThePrint has learnt from sources that two incidents forced Mayawati to make the announcement of contesting alone.
The BSP has demanded 50 assembly seats of the 230 in Madhya Pradesh. The Congress is willing to offer only 30 seats and discussions were still on.
Sources revealed that Mayawati is insistent on 50. In the 2013 assembly elections, Congress had lost 34 seats because of the division of votes between the BSP and itself.
The second reason lies in her home state of Uttar Pradesh. Mayawati feels that Chandrashekhar Azad and his Bhim Army are being backed by Congress in an attempt to make inroads into her vote bank.
When Azad was released from jail last week, Congress leader Imran Masood visited him, further fuelling speculation that the Congress was propping up the Bhim Army to destabilise the BSP.
Congress leaders are unwilling to comment on the prospect of an alliance with the BSP but still hope something can be worked out.
Thursday’s announcement also makes the Congress unsure about whether the BSP will form an alliance with all other opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh. Mayawati has already announced an alliance with the Indian National Lok Dal in Haryana in April.
A worried opposition
The development has worried leaders from different parties working to ensure opposition unity.
“Whatever has happened is not good for opposition unity,” said former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, a strong advocate of opposition unity. “If it is not working out at the state level, it is hard to believe that it will materialise at the national level.”
Manoj Jha, leader of the RJD, a Congress ally in Bihar said: “RJD would have loved to see the BSP and Congress and all other parties contesting together in the state assembly polls. However, state elections shouldn’t be linked to the general elections and all attempts must be made to have a grand alliance against the BJP.”
A senior Trinamool Congress leader too lamented at the position taken by Mayawati.
“While all parties are willing to compromise to defeat the BJP, only the BSP is making demands for a respectable number of seats,” said the leader. “We all need respectable seats but the priority is to defeat the BJP. She thinks she needs more MPs than any other regional party to increase her negotiation power post elections. But you need to win the elections for that.”
Also read: Congress analysts say UPA could touch 200 in Lok Sabha polls with help from Mayawati
Dalit activist and Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani also called it a setback for the opposition.
“Everyone should unite leaving their personal ambitions to defeat the BJP. Had Congress and BSP come together, it would not have been difficult to wipe out the BJP,” he said. “But sadly, this will help the BJP.”
Does the setting of ‘defeating the BJP’ as a top priority automatically mean that Congress can set the rules, hog as many seats as it desires and generally act as Big Brother to other parties, despite being the WEAKEST link in the MGB? Every political party exists for itself and will never brook another party getting stronger at its expense. Congress simply does not seem capable of shedding its delusions of grandeur. The days of Indira Gandhi no longer exist.
This is the outcome of BLUNDER done by RAHUL in KARNATAKA when his party surrendered power to smaller party JD(S) to keep off BJP from power. But this step resulted in the biggest mistake made by Rahul in Congress history. AS A RESULT, ALL POLITICAL PARTIES LIKE TMC, BSP, SP, RJD, TDP, BJD ETC WILL NOT ALIGN IN FUTURE ELECTIONS BECAUSE ALL PARTIES KNOW THAT IT WILL FACE SAME FATE AS HAPPENED IN UP WHEN SP GOT HUMILIATING DEFEAT IN ASSEMBLY AS WELL AS LOK SABHA POLL. SO CONGRESS WILL NOW BECOME SMALLER PARTY & UNTOUCHABLE. NO PARTY WILL NOW SHARE POWER WITH CONGRESS IN ANY STATE. ALL PARTY WILL ASK CONGRESS TO SURRENDER POWER ON BASIS OF KARNATAKA WHICH IS NOW BECOME MAJOR PRECEDENT FOR FUTURE. This blunder will finish CONGRESS from map of India.
Personally I welcome this development. In fact THIS shows the way how to go about the objective of defeating the BJP in every election. If one MAHA-gathbandhan pan-India is not feasible for state elections, what’s wrong with having multiple gathbandhans all with the same objective? This particular one in Chattisgarh looks a sound one. Mayawati has been showing positive inclination towards the Congress, but in this case by choosing Ajit Jogi I think she has shown great political wisdom.
Ms Mayawati seems to have changed her mind. There will be speculation over what has induced her to do so.
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