BSP-Cong tie-up on track in MP; Mayawati removes Rahul-baiting party leader

Developments of the past 48 hours indicate the Congress-Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) alliance for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls is on track.

On Sunday, BSP chief Mayawati met Congress leader Kamal Nath in New Delhi, according to the Congress Madhya Pradesh spokesperson, Manak Agarwal. The Congress-BSP seat-sharing arrangement was still being worked out, but it had been decided in principle, sources said.

On Tuesday, Mayawati removed BSP’s national coordinator Jai Prakash Singh from all party posts. Singh had on Monday said Mayawati, and not Congress president Rahul Gandhi, deserved to be the prime minister. He had insinuated that the Congress chief was a foreigner since he looked more like his mother Sonia Gandhi than father Rajiv Gandhi.

“I came to know about BSP national coordinator Jai Prakash Singh's speech in which he spoke against the ideology of BSP and also made personal remarks against the leadership of rival parties. It is his personal opinion. So, he has been removed from his post with immediate effect,” Mayawati said.

The BSP chief advised members of her party to “refrain from speaking anything about any alliance at any level” in Uttar Pradesh and other states, as long as it was not announced. “They should leave it to the party high command,” she said.

Until the Karnataka Assembly polls, the BSP had not had a pre-poll alliance with any other party since 1996. In 1993, it had a seat adjustment with the Samajwadi Party for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, and then in 1996 in UP with the Congress.

Mayawati made an exception for the Karnataka Assembly polls held in May this year. She had an alliance with the Janata Dal (Secular), and one of her candidates, N Mahesh, won. He is now a member of the H D Kumaraswamy-led council of ministers in Karnataka.

The BSP is also negotiating an alliance with the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh for the state’s 80 Lok Sabha seats. She had supported SP candidates in the Lok Sabha by-elections in Phulpur and Gorakhpur. SP candidates had won on the two seats.

In Madhya Pradesh, the BSP wants to contest on 30 to 40 seats, while the Congress is unwilling to give it more than 18. In 2013, BSP candidates had won 4 seats and were runners-up in 11 constituencies. All these 11 seats were won by the BJP. BSP candidates were also a respectable number three on a couple of seats.

The Congress is unwilling to share seats with Mayawati in Rajasthan.

In Chhattisgarh, Mayawati has been in talks with Ajit Jogi-led Janhit Congress Party, after the Congress showed little interest in having an alliance with the BSP in that state.

In Andhra Pradesh, the BSP is in talks with the YSR Congress Party.

In Bihar, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad has asked Mayawati to campaign for his party. There is a likelihood of an alliance as well.