Thursday, July 25, 2024

BSP, GGP join hands ahead of MP Assembly polls

Two political outfits — the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP) — whose base has been shrinking in Madhya Pradesh over the successive elections, have decided to come together to contest all 230 Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh.

The largely Gond tribe-dominant GGP, which is gradually losing relevance in the tribal-dominated Mahakoshal region, and the Mayawati-led BSP whose strength in areas bordering Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan is on the wane, have joined hands to find their lost ground.

As per the understanding reached between the two parties, the alliance would contest all 230 seats — BSP on 178 seats and the GGP on 52 seats.

While the GGP has long been a force to reckon with in the tribal dominated Mahakoshal region (which neighbours Chhattisgarh), the Vindhya, Gwalior-Chambal and Bundelkhand areas (which border Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan) have over the years been BSP’s area of influence in MP.

But, both the parties in recent years and elections have seen their influence decline in the state. While the GGP, which had last won its maximum three Assembly seats in the state during the 2003 polls, drew a blank in the 2008, 2013 and 2018 polls, the BSP on the other hand won seven seats in 2008, four seats in 2013 and just two seats in 2018 polls.

Out of the two BSP MLAs, the Bhind MLA Sanjeev Kushwah ‘Sanju’ joined the ruling BJP just ahead of Presidential elections in July 2022.

Being seen to be in the stage of rebuilding their presence in MP, the BSP-GGP alliance aims to consolidate the SC and ST vote, which is crucial on 82 SC/ST reserved seats. Any dent by the alliance in the SC-ST vote (which is around 38 per cent of total votes in Madhya Pradesh) may hit prime opposition Congress’ poll prospects in the state.

While the three-decades old GGP has over the last few years been afflicted with desertions and compromises (exposed by the presence of various warring factions), the BSP is yet to find a major leader who can guide it in the state.

Recently, Monika Shah Batti, the law graduate daughter of Late Manmohan Shah Batti (the former GGP MLA from Amarwara-ST seat of Chhindwara district) joined the ruling BJP and has subsequently been fielded by the ruling party from her father’s old seat, which in 2013 and 2018 was won by Congress’ Kamlesh Shah.

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