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Smaller parties gear up to take on Big Two in MP polls

Press Trust of India  |  Bhopal 

The assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh have been largely a fight between the and the BJP for decades, but quite a few other political outfits are gearing up to enter the poll arena to take on the Big Two.

Outfits like the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Samajwadi Party (SP), the (AAP), the (GPP) and the newly floated SAPAKS Samaj, among others, are getting ready to throw their hats in the poll ring.

Madhya Pradesh, which has a 230-member assembly, is scheduled to go to the polls by the year-end.

The Congress, in opposition since 2003, has named its veteran and former Union as the new state as part of its efforts to strengthen the party and dislodge the BJP from power.

The BJP, too, has made changes in its organisation ahead of the polls. The party has appointed Rakesh Singh, the from who has vast organisational experience, as its

The AAP has already sounded the poll bugle by announcing 39 candidates way ahead of the polls, stealing a march over others, at least in selection of contestants.

The Delhi-based party has said it will contest all the 230 seats. AAP convenor and Arvind Kejriwal is scheduled to address a meeting at on July 15, singling start of its campaign.

Besides, a rebel group of the (U), led by former Union Sharad Yadav, is working on stitching a broad alliance with parties like the GGP, which has pockets of influence in tribal areas, and its breakaway faction, the (BGP).

The Samanya Pichhada Evam Alpsankhyak Varg Samaj (General, and Minority Welfare Society), better known as SAPAKS Samaj, an organisation born out of opposition to the governments reservation policy in jobs, promotion and education, has also decided to contest all the 230 seats.

However, the BJP sees no threat from these smaller parties to its quest to retain power in the state and in fact thinks their presence will benefit it.

"in is largely confined to two major parties, the BJP and the Their (smaller parties) presence will benefit the BJP as they will divide the votes of the main opposition party (Congress)," state BJP told

"If the goes with the BSP, it will benefit the latter and not the former. All of them will cut into the votes of and their presence will prove to be advantageous for the BJP," he said.

is looking for an alliance with like- minded parties to prevent a split in votes and stop the BJP's victory march.

said, Though in is bi-polar in nature, the Congress may have a truck with the like-minded parties like the BSP and the SP to prevent a split of votes, especially of SCs/and classes."

"A decision on alliance will be taken by top leaders of parties concerned and once modalities are finalised, it will be announced," he said.

However, in the middle of June, the BSP had said it was not in talks with for an alliance in

On the presence of AAP and SAPAKS Samaj, Chaturvedi said they will not have any impact on the poll outcome.

"We have already announced 39 candidates. We will declare more names in phases and contest all the 230 seats in the state," AAP convenor said.

The AAP is contesting assembly polls in for the first time.

"The has decided to contest all the 230 seats in the year-end assembly polls," Hiralal Trivedi, SAPAKS Samaj patron and a retired IAS officer, had said last month.

In the undivided Madhya Pradesh (which had 320 seats), the BSP had won 11 assembly seats in 1998.

The party won just four seats in the last elections in 2013, but the Dalit outfit remains a major force in areas bordering Uttar Pradesh, a Congress said.

In the last assembly polls, the BJP had won 165 seats, while the Congress bagged 58. Their vote share was 44.48 per cent and 36.38 per cent, respectively.

The BSP, the SP and the GGP had notched up 6.29 per cent, 1.25 per cent and 1 per cent vote share, respectively.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, July 08 2018. 13:10 IST