BSP to contest all 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar; Mayawati to convene meeting of potential candidates, office-bearers on 28 February

The development comes at a time when the 'mahagathbandhan', comprising RJD, Congress and an assortment of smaller parties is yet to finalise a seat-sharing formula more than two months after NDA did the same.

Press Trust of India February 25, 2019 17:52:05 IST
BSP to contest all 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar; Mayawati to convene meeting of potential candidates, office-bearers on 28 February
  • Mayawati has instructed BSP leaders in Bihar to start preparations for all the Lok Sabha seats in the state

  • Her decision can be seen as a snub to the Congress, which she has been cross with since the party's refusal to enter into an alliance in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls

  • The development also comes as a setback to the RJD's attempts to get closer to the BSP

Patna: In what may be seen as a blow to the disjointed anti-NDA front in Bihar, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has decided to contest all the 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state, a senior party functionary said on Monday.

According to BSP state in-charge Lalji Medhkar, party supremo Mayawati has called for a meeting of all potential candidates and other office-bearers in the national capital later this week.

Behenji (Mayawati) has instructed us to start preparations for all the Lok Sabha seats in Bihar. Detailed instructions are expected at the meeting in New Delhi on 28 February, Medhkar said.

The development comes at a time when the "mahagathbandhan", comprising RJD, Congress and an assortment of smaller parties is yet to finalise a seat-sharing formula more than two months after NDA did the same.

BSP to contest all 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar Mayawati to convene meeting of potential candidates officebearers on 28 February

File image of BSP supremo Mayawati. PTI

Although Medhkar did not elaborate much on the instructions received from Mayawati and any reasoning offered for the same, her decision can be seen as a snub to the Congress which she has been cross with since the party's refusal to enter into an alliance in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls.

It is widely believed that it was because of the BSP supremo's insistence that the Congress was kept out of the formidable alliance her party has stitched with the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, even though Akhilesh Yadav was reportedly not as averse to having its old ally on board.

The development also comes as a setback to the RJD's attempts to get closer to the BSP, which would have helped Lalu Prasad's party to improve its standing among the dalits in the state.

Notably, Lalu had come out with an offer of getting Mayawati elected to the Rajya Sabha from Bihar, since she did
not have the requisite number of MLAs in the Assembly of her own state where the BJP stormed to power in the 2017 polls with a brute majority.

Yet another attempt was made by the RJD to win her over when, soon after Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav announced their tie-up, Prasad's son and political heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav made a dash to Lucknow, tweeted pictures of his meeting with the BSP supremo whom he greeted by touching her feet and, weeks later, rejoiced at her advent on twitter, claiming that it was he who had requested her to become active on social media.

Although not a force to reckon with in Bihar — where it polled a meagre 2.07 percent of the total votes in the 2015
Assembly polls and forfeited its deposit in all but three of the 228 constituencies it had fielded candidates from — the BSP could tilt the scale against the "mahagathbandhan" in places where there is a tight contest and margins are likely to be small.

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