The Congress party has suffered a critical blow ahead of the upcoming assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. BSP supremo Mayawati has announced a coalition with ex-Chief Minister of Chhatisgarh and Congress rebel Ajit Jogi for the elections in Chhattisgarh.
Prospects for the party look bleak for the 2019 General elections as well now as the Mahagathbandhan appears to be crumbling. Mayawati’s inclusion in the grand alliance was essential to combat the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. Without BSP in the fold, it could very well turn out to be a sweep in Uttar Pradesh next year.
Meanwhile, the Congress party sees BJP hands behind Mayawati’s decision. State Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel said, “Pressure from the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate on the BSP has led to the creation of this alliance. This alliance had been formed with the BJP’s support and the people of the state had an understanding of it.” He went on to say that the alliance was formed with the BJP’s support.
The BJP is visibly pleased with the formation of the alliance. “Hopes of the Congress were dashed as it had been trying for an alliance with the BSP. The political scenario emerging after the alliance between the BSP and the JCC reflects that the state will see a triangular fight in the coming election,” state BJP president Dharamlal Kaushik said.
It could very well be that Mayawati is bargaining hard for a greater share of seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. And if a respectable number of seats are offered to her, she may yet ally with the Congress-led Mahagathbandhan in the all-important elections. It is important to note that Mayawati had made it clear that an alliance for the General elections will be considered only if a seat-sharing arrangement is reached for the elections in the three states that go to polls this year. Clearly, the Congress will now be grasping at straws to bring Mayawati into its fold.
As an immediate effect, Chhattisgarh appears to be a lost cause for the Congress party. In Madhya Pradesh, which was always going to be difficult, reports suggest that the Congress is suffering from infighting in its ranks as a consequence of which it could suffer. Rajasthan appears to be much easier ground for Rajasthan as it has some popular leaders on the ground and reports suggest that BJP is suffering from anti-incumbency due to Vasundhara Raje’s unpopularity.
The Congress party understands very well that it will be clobbered by the BJP in 2019 if the Mahagathbandhan fails to materialize. Its supposed allies aren’t comfortable with Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Ministerial candidate for the grand alliance and its problems are exacerbated by the fact that there are multiple contradictions within the alliance itself.
The BJP, however, will know better than take it for certain that Mayawati will not be a part of the Mahagathbandhan in 2019. The Congress is still a cunning opposition and while Rahul Gandhi may be a little deficient on political acumen, Sonia Gandhi is not. Therefore, the Congress might yet succeed in coming up with offers that Mayawati cannot refuse. Only time will tell what 2019 holds for us but the BJP can surely breathe a sigh of relief after Mayawati snubbed the Congress for Ajit Jogi.