The year’s end will witness a sharp electoral fight between the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and Indian National Congress (INC). The state assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh will be the last before the mega 2019 General Elections. Both major parties are leaving no stone unturned – be it reshuffling organisation in states to wooing voters to gain some momentum before 2019. Though these two are the only major stakeholders in the states, one cannot deny the importance of BSP in these states where SC and ST votes are in huge number.
If media reports to be believed, we might see an alliance between INC and BSP to counter the ruling and incumbent BJP in all three states. We tried out to find why BSP is becoming indispensable for Congress Politics.
Firstly, the 90-seat State Assembly of Chhattisgarh has a significant percentage of SCs and STs voters which make up 48% of the total number of voters, while Rajasthan also has handy votes from these communities. Dalit assertion has also increased in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Ever since six farmers were killed in police firing in Pipliya Mandi of Mandsaur last year on June 6, Bhim Sena and BSP rebel leader Phool Singh Barraiya’s Bahujan Sangharsh Dal have expanded their outreach in the area in an effort to shape a political base for themselves. Undoubtedly, BSP Supremo Mayawati is one of the biggest Dalit leaders in the country and can play a decisive role in swinging votes from the communities. Though BSP has only five, two and one seats in MP, Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh respectively, there are many seats where the difference between BJP and INC was less than the votes cast for BSP’s candidate. If allianced with BSP, INC could take advantage of such seats.
Second, the results of these states will be critical for setting up Congress roadmap for the General Elections. Defeats in these states will limit its role in the Grand Alliance and it will be hard for the party to lead.
Third, the alliance with BSP in the three states could create a space for Congress’ presence in UP along with SP and BSP vis-a-vis Lok Sabha Elections.
Moreover, alliance with BSP in the three states will also send a political message to other regional parties in different states which can be of great political benefits. The Congress will look for support from other small region based parties of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh by holding BSP in its ambit.
Congress in Madhya Pradesh could also give some seats to Gondwana Ganatantra Party. In Chhattisgarh, apart from the BSP, the Communist Party of India (CPI) is also in talks with the Congress.