As the marathon counting of votes got over on Wednesday morning to dig out the results for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly Election signalling an end to the ultimate script of a political cliffhanger, neither the title-holder (read in power) BJP nor the challenger Congress managed to shellack each other. Consequently, there is one woman who has literally emerged from the ashes to turn into a kingmaker to help form the next government in the state. Congress has managed to win 114 seats, two short of the mandatory minimum of 116 in the 230-seat Assembly and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party has exactly won two seats in the state.
The battle for Madhya Pradesh climaxed late on Tuesday night, with state Congress chief Kamal Nath writing to Governor Anandiben Patel and claiming that the party had the support of Independent candidates. "The Congress party has emerged as the single largest party with a majority support. All the Independents have in addition assured support to the Congress party," the letter said. The governor, however, preferred to adopt a wait and watch policy and advised the Congress to wait until the counting was over. Meanwhile, according to Times Now, BJP has also staked claim to form the government with the support of the Independents (4), even though the numbers aren't enough to form a government in the state. Having won 109 seats, BJP falls short of the majority mark by three seats even if the Independents back the party.
Since official numbers were released early on Wednesday morning, incumbent Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is likely to meet the governor to resign.
It's obvious that Mayawati will have to take the ultimate call as the ball is in her court but the BSP chief isn't known for her predictability. Staunchly against the BJP, senior BSP leaders have said that there is no way that the party would support the BJP. "It is clear that people have voted against the BJP. The BJP has lost badly. We will do whatever it takes to ensure that BJP can't form a government in any of the states," senior BSP leader Sudhindra Bhadoria told NDTV. When the results were trickling in on Tuesday and the leads became clear, Mayawati had called her two winning MLAs to Delhi. It was right after Kamal Nath contacted her in the backdrop of a neck and neck fight in Madhya Pradesh, sources said.
Mayawati had ruled out any alliance with the Congress in this round of Assembly elections after seat-sharing talks in the three states fell through. But she had left the door open for a united front against the BJP in next year's general elections. Mayawati has never been a very enthusiast participant of the proverbial mahagathbandhan — she skipped 10 December's 21-party opposition meeting to forge an alliance for next year. Leaders in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, which have a chunk of Scheduled Caste voters, have been in conversation with Mayawati for a post-poll alliance. Chhattisgarh Congress leader TS Singh Deo said he was open to an alliance with Mayawati or any like-minded leader to beat the BJP.
If BSP emerges as a kingmaker in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls, the party will play its role carefully in view of its own political interest in Uttar Pradesh where it is a major player. BSP, with its decision to go alone in Madhya Pradesh, had surprised everyone and a situation like Hung Assembly is right up the party's alley. "BSP never prefers to see Congress as a powerful player in any state. So, it always look for a situation in which MP is currently heading,"a source told The Economic Times.
To break it up, here are the numbers:
BJP - 109
BSP - 2
Independents - 4
Even if BJP gets all the Independents and in the remotest chance that Mayawati decides to favour the saffron party, it still will not touch the magic number. By the look of it, Congress is forming the next government in Madhya Pradesh and BSP will be the one to help it out. Mayawati will surely keep in mind that if she decides to not to support the Congress at this juncture and any two of the four Independents step in for the Congress, her political career which touched a new low after the Uttar Pradesh debacle last year will only further dive into nadir. Mayawati is the kingmaker in Madhya Pradesh as per the latest math but she will have to stand up to it to make the kingmaker status credible. More than helping Congress she would help herself by offering support to the Congress and remain politically siginificant when Lok Sabha polls in 2019 are not too far away.
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Updated Date: Dec 12, 2018 10:35:28 IST