Bengaluru: Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda and BSP supremo Mayawati have joined hands to take on the ruling Congress and BJP, the main opposition party, in Karnataka Assembly polls. The JDS’ “woman farm labourer carrying a stack of paddy on her head” and BSP’s elephant will walk together across the state during the hot summer of 2018.
Gowda’s point person in New Delhi and JDS national secretary general Danish Ali Baig and Mayawati’s right hand man Satish Chandra Mishra signed the poll pact in New Delhi on Thursday. The BSP will be contesting in just 14 Assembly seats out of 224 seats in the state. The JDS will be contesting in the remaining seats.
Mayawati’s dwindling fortunes in her home state Uttar Pradesh seem to be the reason for her climb-down.
Speaking to News18, Deve Gowda said that he had joined hands with Mayawati to prevent division of Dalit votes in the state. Satish Chandra Mishra also claims the same.
The BSP made serious forays into Karnataka in 2004. In the 2004 Assembly elections it had contested in 102 seats and was polled 1.74% votes. In the Lok Sabha polls held simultaneously, the BSP had fielded candidates in nine seats and had garnered 1.22% votes.
In the 2008 Assembly elections, the BSP had contested in 217 seats and its vote share climbed to 2.7% seats. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the vote share came down to 1.66%. However, the BSP failed to win even a single Assembly seat in the state.
It was in 1994 - its first election in the state - that BSP had opened its account in Karnataka. Syed Zulfikar Hashmi was elected from Bidar in north Karnataka. He later quit the BSP.
The JDS has a base vote of 15% in the state and it hopes with BSP support the party can add a few more seats to its kitty in the state. The BSP is hoping that it can at least open its account with the help of the JDS.
The BSP is strong in two-three Assembly seats in the state and had secured over 20,000 votes in these seats. The new Dalit icon on the rise and the newly elected Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani is also touring the state mobilising support for the Congress.