Congress, BSP trying to resolve the deadlock over seat-sharing formula in MP, Chhattisgarh

Congress, BSP trying to resolve the deadlock over seat-sharing formula in MP, Chhattisgarh

Courtesy : Bureau15/09/2018 08:11

 The Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are trying to resolve the deadlock over the sharing of seats in the upcoming assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

A senior Congress functionary familiar with the developments said the BSP has been demanding 50 seats in Madhya Pradesh and 15 in Chhattisgarh.

The Congress is willing to give 20-22 seats in Madhya Pradesh and seven to nine in Chhattisgarh, but is keen to have a seat-sharing agreement with the BSP to oust the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has ruled both states for the past 15 years.

Dalits account for more than 15% of Madhya Pradesh’s 75 million-population and 11.6% of Chattisgharh’s 26 million, making the Congress very interested in a partnership with the BSP.

The BSP contested 227 out of 230 seats in the 201]3 elections in MP, won four, and ended up with vote share of 6.29%. That’s a significant vote share. The Congress won 58 seats with a share of 36.38% and the BJP 165 seats with a share of 44.88%.

In Chattisgarh, the BSP fought in all the 90 seats in the 2013 election, winning one and ending up with a vote share of 4.27%. The Congress won 39 seats with a vote share of 43.33%, and the BJP 49 seats with a share of 54.44%. These numbers may need to be seen differently now because Ajit Jogi, a former Congress leader, formed a separate party in 2016, and is widely considered to be in a position to play spoiler in the state.

The Congress functionary said while the party cannot afford to accept the BSP’s demands because it has “strong candidates” and doing this “would cause heartburn” and force people to “work against the party”, both parties will try and sort out the issue and firm up an alliance soon.

BSP leaders refused to come on record on the issue, saying the final call on the alliance would be taken by BSP chief Mayawati.

BSP founder Kanshi Ram had fought his first Lok Sabha election from Janjgir-Champa, a district in the tribal-dominated state of Chattisgarh where the party has around 40% Satnami vote.

The negotiations between the two parties have also been strained by the BSP’s demand that the alliance extend to Rajasthan, a state where the Congress believes it has a limited presence.

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