Rajesh Asnani @ Jaipur
The Opposition parties may be talking of a ‘mega alliance’ to counter the BJP in the next national elections, but in Rajasthan, the possibility of the Congress and the BSP coming together for the upcoming Assembly elections looks uncertain.
Having recently won three bypolls covering 17 Assembly constituencies, a buoyant Congress believes it has the capacity to oust the BJP on its own. “We are very strong on all 200 Assembly seats and capable of ousting the ruling BJP alone,” state Congress president Sachin Pilot claimed sometime back.
On the other hand, Mayawati’s party has also been flexing muscles. Rajasthan BSP chief Dharamveer Ashok said, “We are also a national party like the Congress. If they are keen on forging an alliance with us in Rajasthan, they will have to give us 50 per cent seats. If the Congress is ready, then we are open for an alliance. If they are not, then let them fight on their own; we will fight on all 200 seats.”
Khem Chand Dhamani, who heads Congress party’s SC cell, favours electoral tie-up with the BSP saying it will be Congress’s loss if that does not happen.
However, former minister and Dalit leader Babulal Nagar said, “Of course, we understand that the need of the hour is to defeat the BJP… But Rajasthan is different from neighbouring states like Madhya Pradesh or Chhattisgarh,” he said. Traditionally, Dalits have always supported the Congress in Rajasthan as they realise the BSP is incapable of defeating the BJP, he added.
Congress sources said state in-charge Avinash Rai has been told to submit a detailed report to Rahul Gandhi on the pros and cons of aligning with the BSP.