Congress' Failure to Find Room For BSP in MP and Rajasthan Reveals Split in Opposition Unity
Technically, for the Congress, the support of BSP, SP or Left may not be necessary in electoral dynamics of these three states but failure to get into some sort of understanding with these non-BJP parties creates a negative perception about mahagathbandhan.
Congress leader Sonia Gandhi hugs BSP leader Mayawati during the swearing-in ceremony of Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy in May. (Image: PTI)
A few days after the BSP chief had inked a deal with Ajit Jogi's Janta Congress in Chhattisgarh, News18 had reported how the much talked about BSP-Congress alliance won't materialise in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan as well.
BSP president Mayawati has now come on record declaring no tie up with the Congress in the above mentioned states and her party's resolve to contest on its own.
The BSP had already declared list of 22 candidates for the 230-member MP Assembly. Following Wednesday's press conference, Mayawati's close aide and in-charge for Madhya Pradesh had provided her with the list of remaining 208 candidates. The list is likely to be made public in the next few days.
While Mayawati may have chosen to turn the political tables by accusing leaders like Digvijaya Singh being responsible for failure of alliance talks. Reliable sources with the BSP say clarity of "not having an alliance" was well understood by Behenji by mid of September itself.
This clarity has emerged out of what the BSP's top leadership call "high handedness and arrogance" of the Congress party. Though senior Congress leaders like Kamal Nath kept the hopes of alliance alive, the fact is that the Congress was never ready to accept strict demands of Mayawati as far as seat sharing was concerned.
The Congress found BSP's demand for seats "too ambitious and unjustified". While the BSP was demanding not less than 45 seats in MP alone, the Congress insisted on no more than 28 seats to the former.
A senior leader of the BSP put it this way. He said, “Even after the BSP declared an alliance with Janta Congress of Ajit Jogi in Chhattisgarh there was no convincing approach from the Congress regarding Madhya Pradesh.”
It clearly means that more than Digvijaya, it was the Congress party not wanting the alliances in the states where it sees a direct one-on-one fight with the BJP.
However, the failure on the part of Opposition to unite comes as a shot in the arm for the BJP.
It is also a telling comment on the much-hyped mahagathbandhan plans. The non-BJP forces will be going to polls in at least three to four different fronts in these elections.
In Madhya Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party is going with the Gondwana Gantantra Party. The Left parties are in the arena with a front of their own.
In Rajasthan, there are three non-BJP fronts, while the Congress and the BSP will be contesting against each other on all the Assembly seats, the Samajwadi Party has got into understanding with Left Front, and other smaller parties. The AAP is also expected to join this front.
In Chhattisgarh, the BJP already feels comfortable with Ajit Jogi’s party getting support from the BSP. The Left parties and the SP are also going alone in these states.
Despite the odds, Badal Saroj, Former CPM state secretary of Madhya Pradesh, said, "We are still hopeful of defeating the BJP. Opposition unity may not have taken place in ideal form. The rising anger of farmers and common people is strong enough to throw the BJP out of power.”
Samajwadi Party's spokesperson Sunil Singh Sajan is more vocal in his opinion. He said, “For alliance to happen, bigger parties like the Congress should also have a larger heart.”
Sunil further admitted that "it is a disappointment that larger opposition unity could not take place, primarily because of high handedness of the major non-BJP party”.
Technically, for the Congress, the support of BSP, SP or Left may not be necessary in electoral dynamics of these three states but failure to get into some sort of understanding with these non-BJP parties creates a negative perception about much discussed mahagathbandhan and raises serious questions about capabilities of the top leaders, including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, of being able to craft it before 2019 polls.
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