Bihar polls: After SP, BSP to contest all seats independently
In a fresh twist to the upcoming Bihar assembly elections, the Bahujan Samaj Party has decided to contest all 243 seats independently
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New Delhi: New Delhi: In a fresh twist to the upcoming Bihar assembly elections, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has decided to contest all 243 seats independently.
“When it was founded in 1984, the party had decided that it will contest in all assembly and national elections in the country. We may not win all the seats and form the government, but we will have a role to play in the government’s formation,” said party leader and Rajya Sabha member Ambeth Rajan.
The BSP enjoys strong support among Dalits in Uttar Pradesh, but is not known to command the same sway in Bihar. Its impact, therefore, may be limited.
“BSP has no base in Bihar and all these are tactics to misguide the voters. With the BSP contesting all the seats, a part of the Dalit votes, which the BJP is trying to consolidate by allying with Jitan Ram Manjhi and Ram Vilas Paswan, will get diverted to the BSP. Even if the party manages to cut 1% of the BJP’s vote share, it will have a huge impact as this time the competition is neck to neck and whoever wins will win by a small margin,” said Shashi Sharma, head of the political science department at Patna University. “The chances of the party winning are bleak. Nonetheless, it will play a role in the loss of another party.”
The BSP’s performance in the past assembly elections in Bihar has not been encouraging. In 2010, it failed to win a single seat out of the 239 it contested, but managed to get a 3.21% vote share. In the 2005 election, however, the party had won two out of the 238 seats it contested, and had a vote share of 4.41%.
This move is less about winning the state elections and more about the BSP’s survival as a national party, analysts say.
“Had the party contested in an alliance with the JD(U) or RJD, there would have still been some hope of the BSP winning a few seats,” Sharma said.