Rest of the seats will be divided among its allies, including BSP and SP.
The first list of Congress candidates for the forthcoming Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections is scheduled to be declared by the first week of September. The party has decided to contest in 200 out of the 230 Assembly seats in the state. The rest of the seats will be divided among its allies Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Samajwadi Party (SP) and Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP). According to party sources, BSP is likely to get around 15 seats in the deal.
A party functionary said that around 115 candidates have already been identified as of now. “These candidates have assured the party that they have the financial wherewithal to contest the elections on their own and will not need any financial support from the party. We have assured them that the initial list will be declared within 30 days after checking their backgrounds, after which these candidates will start campaigning openly. It is taking some time as we have to decide from the list of 5-8 serious candidates per seat who have expressed their interest for the party ticket,” he added.
Asserting that the alliance with BSP, SP and GGP is almost done, party sources based in Bhopal denied reports that the party’s Guna MP and CM probable Jyotiraditya Scindia was not in favour of an alliance with BSP as the latter was demanding some seats in the Scindia stronghold of Gwalior-Chambal region.
“There is no truth in the speculation that Scindia was against the alliance. It is being planted by BJP leaders. One must remember that it was Scindia who helped in stitching up an alliance with the BSP in the Ater and Mungaoli Assembly bypolls. All the Congress leaders, including Scindia, Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh, are in favour of a pre-poll alliance with these parties. But the decision on how to go about it has been left to the party’s national president Rahul Gandhi, and it is he who has to take the final call,” a senior party leader told The Sunday Guardian from Bhopal.
Meanwhile, the GGP has sought 23 seats to be allotted to the regional outfit. Shyam Singh Markam, national general secretary of GGP in charge of Madhya Pradesh, explained, “We have pockets of strength in more than 50 seats where we can decisively decide the results. In the last five years, we have increased our strength tremendously as we have worked with the tribals on the ground unlike the national parties.”
“We want at least 23 seats in Madhya Pradesh. Right now, we have not received any concrete communication from the Congress, they are just saying that we should meet and decide. However, unless and until they reveal the maximum number of seats they are willing to offer to us, we cannot say anything. It seems that Kamal Nath is busy with BSP right now and hence not getting the time to speak to us,” Markam told this newspaper.
Two Madhya Pradesh-based BSP leaders who spoke to this correspondent, however, declined to comment on the topic, saying that they have been specifically asked by party president Mayawati not to speak to the media on the issue.
In the 2013 polls, BSP alone had mustered 21 lakh votes, while the SP had secured 4 lakh and GGP 3.5 lakh votes.