THE RASHTRIYA Samaj Party (RSP), an alliance partner of the BJP in Maharashtra, has decided to contest all forthcoming local body elections alone. Starting with elections to 14,234 gram panchayats in 34 districts on January 15, the RSP has made the decision to stand alone.
Mahadeo Jankar, president of the RSP, told The Indian Express, “We have realised that unless we go for organisational expansion, we will not be able to have our say in state politics,” adding, “we have taken a decision to contest all local bodies’ elections, including gram panchayats, alone.”
The former minister for dairy development and animal husbandry, Jankar said, “The RSP is neither quitting the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) nor joining the MVA (Maha Vikas Aghadi). Our stand is neutral at this stage. Our focus is to strengthen the RSP at the grassroots. Therefore, we have to built cadre at booth level.”
He said the effort was to build a stronger electoral base and work for winning at least 30 to 35 Assembly seats in the next election. If this target could be achieved, then the RSP would be in a position to dictate terms to BJP and Congress alliances, he added.
He also said NCP and Shiv Sena were the same as BJP and Congress, who liked to “use and throw” smaller parties and, therefore, there was no chance of an alliance with them either.
This gives the BJP a reason to rework its strategy, especially at a time when Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena are working to stitch up a greater alliance to corner the party in local body elections.
In 2010, when the BJP went to polls, it had four alliance partners. Shortly after, the Shiv Sena left to join hands with Congress and NCP to form the government in Maharashtra. Almost a year later, the RSP is talking of distancing itself from an electoral alliance with the BJP in all elections. Therefore, the BJP, at present, is left with the Republican Party of India (RPI), Shiv Sangram and Ryat Kranti Party.