BSP to play spoilsport for BJP, Cong in Chhattisgarh

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Raipur, Nov 11 (UNI) The Bahujan Samaj Party is once again likely to play a spoilsport for the two national parties Congress and BJP in 91-member Chhattisgarh assembly elections as it had done in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly polls.

The party, which is in power in Uttar Pradesh by winning absolute majority in the 2007 assembly polls, was contesting in all the 90 assembly constituencies with an eye to grab the Dalit vote bank particularly of the Satnami community. One seat is held by a nominated member of the Anglo-Indian community.

The BSP was also trying to woo the Puraviya and Brahmin vote bank in all the clusters with its slogan of Sarva Samaj.

Elephant, the BSP symbol, has been trumpetting in the interiors of the state with not a single village left without the party's wall writing.

In the last assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, BSP made inroads in the vote percentage of the national parties particularly the Congress. In Gujarat, while it grabbed about 9 per cent of the votes while in Himachal Pradesh its poll per cent was around 7.

BSP is likely to emerge as a third big force in the state after BJP and Congress replacing the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in the assembly elections. In the last polls NCP was on the third spot with around 7 per cent of votes.

NCP this time was contesting in only three seats under an alliance with the Congress while in the last elections it had contested over 89 seats.

Though the parties like Congress and BJP were terming the BSP as 'Vote Katwa' (vote cutters), but these parties were also taking all measures to counter the onslaught of BSP's poll plank of giving free land, house and jobs.

In the last assembly elections in 2003, BSP had won only two seats, one in Janjgir-Champa district and other in Raigarh district but the vote percentage was around 4.2 per cent.

The state has old connections with BSP as its founder late Kanshi Ram had started his political tirade from here and even contested the Lok Sabha elections from Janjgir-Champa seat without any success.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati had addressed an election meeting at Bhilai on November 9 while she is slated to attend another meeting at Bilaspur on November 16. However, she had deputed Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Anant Kumar Mishra and a team of BSP leaders to monitor the campaign.

Chhattisgarh State BSP President Dau Ram Ratnakar, who is a three time MLA, claimed that certainly this time BSP will give a surprise to all the political parties and could decide the fate of several winning candidates.

Mr Mishra told UNI here that the party was trying to create a 'Sarva Samaj' image before the electorate by raising the issue of 'Roti, Kapda aur Makan'' and not on 'rice and salt' of the Congress and BJP.

''We have announced that if BSP is voted to power we will give 3 acre of land to the landless, a house and a job so that people can sustain for their entire life'', he said and adding that giving rice and salt at cheap rate will not at all make any difference to the lives of the people.

Hopeful of the party winning sizeable number seats in the two phase elections on November 14 and 20, he said on December 8 people themselves will realise the real power of the BSP.

Meanwhile, Congress leader and former union minister Vidyacharan Shukla making a critical remark on the BSP said that the presence of the BSP leaders from UP would have no impact as the people were not serious about them.

''The BSP candidates are 'vote katwas' and the party has fielded such number of candidates just to raise their vote percentage'', he alleged.

BJP leader and in-charge Chhattisgarh Ravi Shanker Prasad also made it clear that the BSP phobia would not work in this tribal dominated state.

UNI MB KV SP 1455

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