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Here’s why Mayawati’s seat sharing demand is not acceptable to Congress

On October 3, Mayawati lashed out at the Congress and said her party will fight the upcoming assembly polls alone

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Former Union minister and senior Indian National Congress leader Kamal Nath hit back at Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati for calling off alliance talks for the upcoming assembly polls.

Speaking to the press, Nath said BSP had sought to fight seats where “they had no chance of winning”.

“The seats where they could have won, they had not included in the list,” Nath said.

In an interview to NDTV, Nath on October 3 said he does not know why Mayawati called off alliance talks.

"I do not know why Mayawati did what she did. We were discussing (seat sharing) with her and her party till day before yesterday," Nath told the news channel.

On October 3, Mayawati lashed out at Congress and said her party will fight the upcoming assembly polls alone.

The BSP supremo said, “I want to make it clear that BSP will never contest in any election in alliance with the Congress.”

Mayawati said Congress had not learnt from election losses in the past.

Nath further said there was no chance of a Congress-BSP alliance as Mayawati had publicly called it off. "There is no possibility of an alliance with the BSP now that she has called it off," he added.

The 71-year-old Congress leader is the party’s in-charge for the Madhya Pradesh election. Nath had also been holding seat sharing negotiations with the BSP for the central Indian state. Nath is being also called by some as Congress’ chief ministerial candidate.

Responding to Mayawati’s charge that “some leaders” of the Congress were trying to sabotage the talks, Nath said, “It was not about me getting the Chief Minister's post but getting the Congress back in power."

Madhya Pradesh is expected to head for assembly polls later this year along with Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Mizoram and possibly Telangana.

What was Mayawati’s seat sharing demand?

Mayawati’s announcement came after the seat sharing negotiations between Congress and BSP reportedly hit a dead-end.

BSP had demanded 40 seats out of the state's 231 seats. But it wanted a package deal in Rajasthan.

While the Madhya Pradesh unit of the Congress was keen on the deal — with some riders regarding the number of seats being shared — the Rajasthan unit of the party considered that an alliance would benefit Mayawati if seats were shared.

Playing hardball, Mayawati had informed the Congress that she would not accept any deal unless her demands were met, according to the report.

"We could not give her the seats she demanded, which would have allowed the BJP to win easily. We did not want the vote against BJP to be fragmented," he said.

Similar developments in Chhattisgarh

In a surprise announcement in September, Mayawati had declared that BSP would contest the Chhattisgarh assembly polls along with Ajit Jogi’s Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC). Jogi was also named as the alliance’s chief ministerial candidate.

Jogi, former chief minister of Chhatisgarh who quit Congress in 2016, could take away some of Congress' traditional voters.

Also read: Mayawati's masterstroke? Making sense of BSP chief's decision to ally with Ajit Jogi

As part of the agreement, BSP will contest 35 seats and JCC will contest 55 in the 90-member Assembly.

The development in Chhattisgarh was similar to what is being seen in Madhya Pradesh now. Congress was hoping to stitch together an alliance with the BSP. Mayawati dumping Congress in Chhattisgarh may impact the Rahul Gandhi-led party’s chances.

Assembly Elections 2018: Read the latest news, views and analysis here
First Published on Oct 4, 2018 03:03 pm
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