PATNA: In a setback to Bihar’s Opposition RJD-led Grand Alliance, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) has decided to go it alone in the state and field candidates in all the 40 Lok Sabha constituencies.
“Instructions have been issued by party president Mayawati about Bihar. We will contest in all the 40 constituencies in the state,” said BSP’s Bihar state president Bharat Bind on Monday. Mayawati has also convened a meeting of her party’s office-bearers in Bihar in New Delhi on February 28 to discuss potential candidates, he added.
BSP leaders said at least 70 potential candidates of the party in Bihar are likely to attend the meeting in New Delhi. “We have started preparations for all the 40 seats after instructions from the party supremo. BSP has a considerable support base in Bihar,” said the party’s Bihar in-charge Lalji Medhkar.
Mayawati’s decision came as a shock to leaders of all the parties in the Grand Alliance led by RJD. However, none of the parties made any official statement on the development.
RJD had expected BSP to be a part of the Grand Alliance and had reportedly decided to allot one seat (Gopalganj) to it, but Mayawati’s decision proved that RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav’s meeting with her in Lucknow in January made no impact.
Seat-sharing talks in the Grand Alliance are still stuck in competitive bargaining by the constituent parties. Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), led by former chief minister and Dalit leader Jitan Ram Manjhi, has been feeling restive, indicating that it may quit the alliance.
BSP has only a marginal support base in Bihar, especially in areas in the western parts bordering Uttar Pradesh. While the party has no prominent leader in the state and is unlikely to win any Lok Sabha seat, its decision to contest in all the 40 constituencies could upset the Grand Alliance’s chances, said observers.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, BSP bagged only 2.17 votes in Bihar and could win no seat. In the 2015 Assembly polls in the state, BSP contested in all 243 seats and failed to win any of them. It polled a mere 2.1 per cent votes.