By Rahil Nora Chopra
Congress is exploring ways to forge an electoral alliance with Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to counter the BJP in the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. .In the 2013 elections BSP had a vote share of 6.29 percent in MP and 4.27 percent in Chhattisgarh, which can swing the results in a particular way. Congress had 36.38 percent and 40.29 percent vote share in MP and Chhattisgarh respectively. The Chhattisgarh Congress had lost its Dalit face with former chief minister Ajit Jogi floating a new party named Janata Congress Chhattisgarh. Congress believes that BSP’s extra votes can help balance this loss. There are 29 seats out of 90 assembly seats in Chhattisgarh where Dalits have decisive say. According to sources, the BSP-SP combination is keen on an alliance with Congress in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. But they want 30 to 35 seats in Madhya Pradesh and 12 seats in Chhattisgarh. The BSP-SP leaders are saying that if Congress wants to have an alliance in UP, they have to first have an alliance in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.
NITISH, PASWAN TIES NOT SEEN SUSTAINABLE
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has joined hands with Ram Vilas Paswan thinking that Paswan can get him the Dalit votes that he has lost after Jitan Ram Manjhi left him and joined the RJD camp Nitish made Ram Vilas Paswan’s younger brother Paras a minister in his cabinet and recently announced that Paswans have now been included in the Maha Dalit category, making them eligible for more benefits. Paswan is happy about the decision as it will decrease the clout of RJD. But political observers believe that Nitish and Paswan can’t be together till the next Lok Sabha elections considering the nature of the two leaders. The RJD graph is improving day by day in Bihar so they feel it is a matter of time before Ram Vilas Paswan ends up with RJD in time for the Lok Sabha election.
RAWAT UPS THE ANTE IN UTTARAKHAND
Uttarakhand’s former Congress chief minister Harish Rawat wants to establish himself again as the state’s leader and has started agitations and yatras on various causes. He recently organised a dharna at the statue of Gandhiji in Dehradun on the issue of Dalits. The next day he visited Haridwar and observed a fast and dharna at the statue of Ambedkar in Dalit Basti. In both programmes the party did not support him as state party president Pritim Singh stayed away. This fight began with the selection of AICC delegates from Uttarakhand; now the infighting has broken out on the streets as both Harish Rawat and Pritim Singh are in the mood for a fight to finish to show who is in charge.
FOUR ZONAL CHIEFS PROPOSED FOR UP CONGRESS
Many senior Congress leaders in UP are suggesting that the state be divided into four zones in terms of party organisation, such as Eastern and Western UP, Bundelkhand and Awadh, so that four zonal presidents can be appointed, who will report to state party president. The argument being put forward is that this would help groom new leadership in the four regions. With Raj Babbar believed to be on his way out, the names of Lalitesh Pati Tripathi, Jitin Prasada, Rajesh Mishra and KK Sharma are being considered for the PCC chief’s post.
CONGRESS, JMM ALLIANCE TO STAY
The Congress and JMM had joined hands to defeat BJP in the recent Rajya Sabha elections in Jharkhand. The two parties are now set to fight the Lok Sabha elections together next year but surprisingly they are not contesting together for the municipal elections in the state. Congress has fielded candidates for all the seats because it wants to strength the party and activate party workers at the ground level. But JMM leaders continue to stay in touch with senior Congress leaders. JMM is keen to be part of a united opposition to fight the Lok Sabha elections together. (IPA)
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