BSP spices up poll battle in Chhattisgarh


Raipur : The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which has decided to go it alone in Chhattisgarh and has named potential candidates in several seats, may affect the chances of the two main contenders, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress, politicians here say.

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The party has fielded three women candidates and has given tickets to five candidates from the Scheduled Tribe (ST), two from the Scheduled Caste (SC), one from the upper castes and three from the other backward class (OBC). The OBCs form about 50 percent of the state’s 20.08 million population.

Chhattisgarh goes to the polls April 16.

“The BSP has announced candidates for all the 11 seats and only candidates with winning potential are being fielded. This time, Chhattisgarh will see a triangular contest on all seats,” claimed Dauram Ratnakar, state BSP president.

“In the assembly polls last November, the BSP bagged just two seats out of the 90 but polled 6.11 percent of the votes with a strong showing in at least 18 segments. We have devised a strategy to pull off stunning performance in the state,” Ratnakar told IANS.

The other parties are not taking the BSP lightly. “BSP has developed some good hold in recent years in Bilaspur, Janjgir-Champa, Surguja and Korba Lok Sabha seats,” admitted Ramesh Varlyani, general secretary of the Congress’ state unit.

“But,” he said, “I think the BSP has still a long weay to go before it can pull off a victory in a Lok Sabha seat in the state.”

Vishnudeo Sai, president of the state unit of the ruling BJP, told IANS: “The fight is mainly between the BJP and the Congress in the state, but on certain seats it’s sure that BSP is going to mess up the battle.”