Withdrawing from the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (Grand alliance) of parties politically inimical to the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) in general and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in particular, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has taken the Congress party by surprise.
The Congress, by virtue of its being the oldest national party (though now reduced to the status of a regional party) has taken the lead in forming the grand alliance of anti-BJP and anti-Modi parties and had pinned great hopes on Mayawati’s BSP. The Congress, however, has not shed its ego, and wanted to be at the forefront of the alliance and expected all other parties to follow it.
Close to Congress party’s resolve at Sewagram to oust Modi and BJP a couple of days ago, Mayawati made a severe dent into the grand alliance shattering the hopes of the alliance at least for the assembly elections of the three states in the country. Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are the most crucial states for BJP and the party has been in power there for three consecutive terms.
By entering into electoral pact with Ajit Jogi’s party in the state of Chhattisgarh, Mayawati dealt the first blow to the Mahagathbandhan. But the Congress did not learn from that lesson. The BSP supremo had announced that her party would contest all the assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and will not have any truck with the Congress as the party felt aggravated over the distribution of seats which according to her was not ‘honourable’.
The Congress was so desperate for alliance with the BSP in Madhya Pradesh that Rahul Gandhi himself dialled PCC Chief Kamal Nath and urged him to do last ditch efforts to strike a pact. Kamal Nath had a talk with BSP General Secretary Satish Chandra Mishra. The party even asked its chief data analyst to make an analysis of the 30 assembly seats that BSP demanded from the Congress.
Meanwhile, Mayawati has announced the list of 22 BSP candidates for MP and declared alliance with Ajit Jogi in Chhattisgarh thus dealing a crushing blow to the Congress. She accused the Congress of arrogance and announced publically that there would be no alliance with the party in all these three states. Ironically, she also accused the Congress of resorting to communal and casteist politics, the expletives usually hurled at the BJP.
The acrimony in the relationship of BSP and Congress indicated to a power shift from national to regional parties. The position and strength of parties like BSP and other regional parties for that matter, is better than the Congress party which still basks in the past glory of being the oldest political party of the country. Its leadership has yet to come to the terms of the ground reality.
As expected the Congress leadership reacted to the BSP decision as move prompted by the BJP in the wake of financial irregularity cases against her kin. Digivjay Singh said that Mayawati has refused to join the alliance because of the pressure of CBI against her. This provided the much needed opportunity to Mayawati to accuse Congress of neglecting her party. However, she had not shut the doors for the Congress party totally. The BSP might consider joining alliance for the Lok Sabha elections next year.
More than these three states, the BSP is more worried to regain its lost position in Uttar Pradesh where it wields influence over 22 percent voters. Electoral pact with her arch rival Samajwadi Party is still doubtful. In such a situation, Congress remains the only alternative and the BSP Supremo is well aware of this reality. But she wanted to teach a lesson to loudmouth Congress leaders like Digvijay Singh this time, hence, this divorce with Congress in MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Nevertheless, Congress will now have to think and chalk a strategy to break through this ‘Mayajaal’ of BSP to save its political prospects from impending doom.