Congress and BSP have already announced an alliance for Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections.
After tasting success in by-elections in Gorakhpur, Kairana and Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh, and buoyed after winning one seat in the recently concluded Karnataka Assembly elections, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is all set to go for a pre-poll alliance with the Congress for Assembly elections in BJP-ruled Rajasthan.
While both the Congress and BSP have already announced a pre-poll alliance for the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, an announcement for Rajasthan is still awaited and is likely to come soon.
Political observers say that despite getting a low vote share in past elections in MP and Rajasthan, the BSP is in demand due to its potential to alter the upcoming poll results in both the states.
Sources said that the BSP is already in talks with the Congress and other like-minded parties for an alliance for the 2019 general elections. The party has already decided to contest the 2019 general elections in coalition with the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD).
Manindra Nath Thakur, associate professor and political analyst from the Jawaharlal Nehru University told The Sunday Guardian: “The elections in MP and Rajasthan have always been a bi-polar contest between the BJP and Congress, but the results of the Assembly elections in both the states have been altered by BSP in the past due to the BSP eating into the vote share of the Congress in both the states.”
Refusing to predict the results in the Assembly elections in both the states, Thakur said: “There is no doubt that the BSP may be the game-changer in Rajasthan and MP, but overestimation of the party will be wrong as in the last Assembly elections held in 2013 in Rajasthan, the BSP could manage only 3.44% of the total votes, down from 7.6% in the 2008 polls.”
According to the Election Commission of India’s data, in 2013, out of the 75.20% voters who cast their ballot in Rajasthan, BJP got 46% votes, the Congress 34%, while the BSP got only 3.44% vote share. In the 1998 Assembly polls in Rajasthan, the BSP, for the first time, contested in 110 seats, but managed to secure two seats in the state, getting 2.17% of the vote share.
Sant Prakash, a scholar at the Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University, told The Sunday Guardian: “While the BJP is working hard to keep its alliance partners intact for the general elections next year, the formation of the alliance with BSP in Madhya Pradesh for the upcoming Assembly elections seems to be a masterstroke by the Congress.”
“In the five bypolls held so far in MP, the Congress has managed to win four seats; interestingly, on all these seats, the BSP did not field its candidate. If the pattern continues, it might be beneficial for the BSP-Congress alliance,” Prakash said.
“Also, if we see the results of the last Assembly polls held in 2013 in MP, the BSP polled 6.29% votes, the Congress 36.38% votes, while the BJP polled 44.88% of the votes in the state. By this logic, the BSP-Congress alliance can put BJP in trouble in the state,” Prakash added.