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Congress to give third blow to Mayawati, BSP May Form Alliance With SP and Left in Rajasthan


BSP supremo Mayawati may form a third front with the Samajwadi Party and the Communist Party of India to take on the BJP and the Congress in the upcoming Rajasthan elections. CPI national secretary Atul Kumar Anjan, who is also party’s in charge of Rajasthan.

This would be the third blow to opposition unity ahead of the general elections next year. She had on Thursday announced a tie-up with Congress rebel Ajit Jogi in Chhattisgarh, forcing Congress to say it will fight the elections alone in the state. In Madhya Pradesh too, she ramped up the pressure by unilaterally declaring the first list of 22 candidates.

“Left parties together with JDS and SP have formed a third front. We will be happy if BSP also joins it. We are in touch with BSP leadership,” Anjan said, but added that BSP is also in touch with Congress for seat sharing. However, unlike in Chhattisgarh, where the Congress was pursuing an alliance, the grand old party was not willing to accommodate BSP in Rajasthan.

Congress state president Sachin Pilot had taken an open position against any alliance as the party feels most confident about its chances om the state, which has a history of alternating between BJP and Congress every five years. Reliable sources within the BSP, however, said Mayawati is still in touch with Congress high command and an alliance between the two has not been totally ruled out despite the state unit’s stand, suggesting that overtures towards the Left, SP front could be a bargaining tactic for seats.

A senior BSP functionary said, “We are in touch with both Congress as well as other non-BJP parties. We are, however, also considering seriously of going solo in Rajasthan polls.” In previous elections too, BSP had refrained from joining an alliances in the state and had contested 199 seats in 2013. It had won 3 seats and secured around 5 percent of the vote share. Analysts say that the developments in these three states shows the going will not be easy for Congress to form a grand anti-BJP alliance for 2019 Lok Sabha elections and wind may blow towards a third front of non-BJP and non-Congress parties instead.

In Haryana too, BSP has already gone into an understanding with Indian National Lok Dal of Abhay Chautala. Though assembly elections in the state are post general elections, Mayawati’s meeting with INLD president last month holds a lot of significance for the 2019 election as well. In Uttar Pradesh, the key political state, both the SP and the BSP have been uneasy with the idea of accommodating the Congress in seat sharing.

Samajwadi party’s line is that Congress doesn’t fit the larger political narrative they wish to build against the BJP. BSP, too, is keen to accommodate Congress only if the latter is ready to be benevolent in other states. The upcoming assembly elections will hold the key to how seat sharing negotiations go in 2019. A strong Congress showing would give it the bargaining power to demand more seats and the other opposition parties would not want that. Whatever be the larger political thought process, it’s the BJP that will breathe an immediate sigh of relief.

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