BSP set to play spoilsport in RajasthanNovember 6th, 2008 - 4:01 pm ICT by IANS
Jaipur, Nov 6 (IANS) The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is going all out to make a mark in Rajasthan, which traditionally has seen contests mainly between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress. The state goes to the polls December 4 to elect 200 legislators. The BSP, which took power in Uttar Pradesh with its innovative social engineering pooling upper castes and Dalits together, is leaving no stone unturned to woo voters. The party will contest in all the 200 assembly constituencies.
Though the BSP won only two of 124 assembly seats it contested in 2003, it increased its vote percentage from 2.17 in 1998, when it entered the fray for the first time in the state, to 3.98 percent in 2003.
The party has deputed 24 legislators, including ministers, from Uttar Pradesh to oversee election arrangements in Rajasthan. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati is planning an extensive tour of the desert state from next week.
The BSP has already initiated its grassroot workers into door-to-door campaign in areas which look promising.
Moreover it has devised a strategy on the lines of the one in Uttar Pradesh by fielding Brahmins, Rajputs, Gujjars and Jats, besides Dalits as well as members of tribal communities.
Political pundits feel that the BSP may not have high profile candidates but it would act as a spoilsport for the Congress and the BJP.
State party chief Durga Ram Gader has a different point of view. Gader told IANS: “We are not here just to cut votes of other parties. We want to form the government. Our candidates are in a strong position in 180 constituencies.”
Raghu Sharma, a senior Congress leader, felt that the BSP would dent the BJP votebank. “The BSP is strong in the areas where the BJP won last time.”
Om Prakash Mathur, the BJP state president, said: “We are not worried. No party can dent our vote bank as we are contesting elections on the achievements of Vasundhara Raje government and the failure of the central government to check price rise and terrorism.”