No word on pact with BSP, Rahul kicks off MP campaign
New Delhi, September 17
Though the BSP is yet to come on board, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday kicked off his party’s campaign for the forthcoming Madhya Pradesh elections with a road show in Bhopal.
Back in Delhi, the Congress made light of Gandhi’s electoral splash in MP, saying he had visited Mandsaur earlier as part of poll preparations.
A road show by Gandhi is, however, being seen as formal campaign launch of the Congress at a time when an electoral understanding with the Mayawati-led BSP is yet to be reached. Former minister and convener of the Congress’ core committee for 2019 Lok Sabha elections Jairam Ramesh said: “What is new in Gandhi going to MP for campaign. He has gone there earlier also.” He said negotiations with the BSP were underway.
But it was evident that the Congress and BSP were locked in power play over the number of seats each will contest should they go together in MP to prevent the division of non-BJP vote. The idea of larger Opposition unity has been floated and nurtured by Gandhi over the past some months now. It will be put to test in MP.
Although MP Congress chief Kamal Nath had recently said that he would deliver an alliance with the BSP soon, Mayawati has struck a dissonant note by arguing that hers’ is a national party which expects respectable seats even though she is for the unity of anti-BJP forces. Gandhi has, meanwhile, asked his Chhattisgarh workers to open channels of communication with BSP.