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|November 16, 1998||
BSP denies 'strategic alliance' with Congress
The Bahujan Samaj Party has denied a 'strategic alliance' with the Congress for the assembly election in Madhya Pradesh.
"We are relying on our own strength," state BSP treasurer Rajendra Kumar Dawna said. "Our role is likely to be crucial in the formation of the next government in the state," he added.
The party, however, has fielded fewer candidates than in 1993 when it had contested 234 seats. This time, it has put up 170 candidates, mainly in areas believed to be under its influence, giving a fair chance to the ruling Congress to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party, arch-rival of both parties, say political analysts.
Significantly, the BSP seems to be keeping its options open. It has refrained from fielding anyone against Chief Minister Digvijay Singh as also against BJP politicians Sunderlal Patwa (Bhojpur) and Vikram Verma (Dhar), both aspirants for the chief minister's post in the event of the party coming to power.
The BSP has 11 legislators in the outgoing assembly. Dawna said the party wanted to register a three-fold increase in number of MLAs this time.
The BSP has put up candidates largely in the Vindhya, Chambal and Chhattisgarh regions, believed to be its strongholds. It has renominated all its 11 legislators.
An analysis of the BSP's performance indicates that the Dalit outfit may be in a position to affect the results in the Vindhya (16 seats) and Gwalior-Chambal (32 seats) regions.
The Congress, the BJP, and the BSP had secured the first three positions in each of the assembly segments in the Lok Sabha constituencies of these regions in the parliamentary election earlier this year.
As far as the BSP's performance in the 1996 Lok Sabha election is concerned, it had secured first position in 15 assembly segments and captured two seats. The party stood second in 38 and third in 85 of the 320 assembly segments.
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