JAIPUR: In a bid to revive its sinking fortunes in Rajasthan, the BSP will contest the upcoming municipal elections across the state. With all 6 BSP MLAs in the Rajasthan Assembly switching sides and joining the ruling Congress in September, Mayawati’s party was delivered a massive blow in the state. But now the BSP plans to rebuild its grassroots organisation in Rajasthan by contesting all the municipal elections starting from mid-November.
The BSP decision implies that the party is trying to turn the two-cornered BJP-Congress fight in the local body elections into a triangular contest as it did in the Assembly elections in Rajasthan last year. The party’s Central Leadership has reportedly given the green signal and over the next few days the BSP is likely to declare all its candidates for the municipal elections. According to state BSP President, Sumrat Singh, the party will contest for elections to all wards across Rajasthan and candidates are being finalized in consultation with each district BSP unit.
Despite the decision now, in recent months the BSP has been hitting the headlines in Rajasthan for all the wrong reasons and has been a house divided. After the six BSP MLAs switched over to the Congress, Mayawati had removed all 13 office bearers of the BSP state executive in Rajasthan from their posts. More recently, party workers had not only alleged corruption in ticket allocation in the Assembly polls in Rajasthan last year but had garlanded two major BSP leaders with shoes, blackened their faces and even paraded them on donkeys outside the BSP office in Jaipur.
Inspite of this rift, however, there is little doubt that the BSP has a strong presence in the eastern Rajasthan districts that border Uttar Pradesh and all BSP MLAs who moved over to the Congress were elected from those districts. This region in the eastern belt of Rajasthan also has a large SC/ST population and Mayawati hopes to encash their votes in the upcoming local body elections.
Political analysts say that the BSP Supremo is keen to teach the ruling Congress a lesson for what she call its ‘betrayal’ in making BSP MLAs switch sides in the Rajasthan Assembly. And the decision to contest all municipal elections in Rajasthan is also motivated by Mayawati's desire to revive the BSP unit and raise a new set of state leaders through the forthcoming local body elections in the next few months. Elections for the 196 municipal bodies in rajasthan will be held over four rounds, the first of which will begin with 49 local bodies casting votes on November 16.