NEW DELHI: Ecstatic over the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) losses in the recent bypolls, the Congress has begun strategising for the upcoming Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. As per Zee News sources, the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have joined hands for the assembly polls.
The probable Congress, BSP alliance is seen as an attempt to garner Dalit votes in the states. Sources add that the Congress has already agreed to give 30 Vidhan Sabha seats to the BSP for the elections in Madhya Pradesh. The two parties are yet to finalise the seat-sharing agreement in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
The BSP has been trying to move out of Uttar Pradesh and is trying to make a mark on a national level. The efforts were evident when the BSP joined hands with the Janata Dal Secular for pre-poll alliance in Karnataka and bagged one seat in the state. When the JDS-Congress combine formed the government in the state, the warmth between BSP supremo Mayawati and United Progressive Alliance chief Sonia Gandhi was visible for all. The two ladies hugging and smiling on the dais gained more eyeballs than HD Kumaraswamy taking oath as Karnataka Chief Minister. Not just Sonia, her son and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi was also seen talking to Mayawati during the event.
The BSP chief has spent the last few weeks in Delhi strategising for the upcoming state elections and finalising the list of candidates.
The development comes at a time when the BJP managed to retain only one seat out of three in the Lok Sabha bypolls, the counting for which was held on Thursday. With the recent losses, BJP has a wafer-thin majority with its effective strength standing at 272 in the 539-member House.
The Lok Sabha has 543 elected members but its four seats are unrepresented. While three MPs from Karnataka resigned, the Anantnag seat in Kashmir is lying vacant after the bypoll was deferred indefinitely in May last year. It brings the majority mark down to 270.
However, for all practical purposes, the BJP's strength is 274 as two nominated members also belong to it. Counting them, the BJP has three members more than the 271 it needs to have a majority in 541-member House.
Due to losses in a number of by-polls, including in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, the BJP's strength has come down in the Lok Sabha after it won 282 seats in the 2014 general elections. However, it makes little difference to the government as the BJP-led NDA has around 315 seats.