NEW DELHI: Sensing that the outcome of the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections could go down to the wire, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is bracing for post-poll manoeuvring, on the lines of what it did in Goa, to stay in power, party functionaries who were privy to the discussions said on Monday.
The first three Assembly poll verdicts in the state since it was formed have shown a dropping victory margin for the BJP. The party’s strategists are therefore planning to wean away non-Congress MLAs to get past the half way mark in the state Assembly. Results for the polls which took place on November 12 and 20, will be declared on December 11.
“In the event the state throws a split verdict, the BJP will be on course to outmanoeuvre the Congress to cobble up a majority in Chhattisgarh on the lines of Goa. The BJP strategists are counting on a couple of legislators who could win from the BSP to bolt to the saffron camp to beat the Congress...,” said one of the sources cited above.
“The BJP’s victory margin was two per cent in Chhattisgarh in its first election. It came down to 1.5 per cent in the second, and it was squeezed to 0.8 per cent in 2013. If it gets further squeezed, then all possibilities have to be accounted for,” added the functionary.
In the 2017 Assembly polls in Goa, despite coming in second to the Congress, senior BJP leader and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari is credited to have outsmarted the Congress in-charge Digvijaya Singh in putting together a post-poll alliance to form the government after a split verdict in the state.
In the case of Chhattisgarh, BJP leaders are counting on the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to win several seats in the Bilaspur region.
“The smaller parties may share about 5-6 seats in the state which has a total of 90 Assembly seats. The Ajit Jogi factor was seen cutting a greater vote base of the Congress, than the BJP’s. Yet, the extent of damage to the BJP and the Congress on account of the Ajit Jogi factor is to be seen,” said another senior BJP functionary.