BSP Likely to Join Hands with BRS in Telangana Ahead of LS Polls — a Move to Arrest Continuing Decline or Expand Footprint in South

A recent meeting between BSP’s Telangana state president Dr RS Praveen Kumar with BRS supremo K. Chandrashekar Rao has fuelled the speculation of a possible alliance between the two parties.
K. Chandrashekar Rao & Mayawati
K. Chandrashekar Rao & Mayawati

Lucknow- Telangana state chief of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) meeting the former chief minister of the state has triggered speculations that the Mayawati-led party is to enter into an alliance with the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS). 

BSP’s state president Dr RS Praveen Kumar has recently held a meeting with BRS supremo K. Chandrashekar Rao. The BRS, however, has already declared its nominees for Khammam, Mehbubabad, Karimnagar and Pedapalli Lok Sabha constituencies in the run up to the upcoming 18th general elections.

The southern Indian state of Telangana sends 17 MPs to the 545-member Lok Sabha (House of the People or Lower House of Parliament). Elections are held across the country to fill up 543 seats, while the remaining two seats are filled by nomination of representatives of the Anglo-Indian Community if the President feels that this community has not been represented adequately. 

Out of the elective seats, 79 are reserved for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and 41 for Scheduled Tribes (STs). General elections in India involve a vast multitude of electors. It is a massive exercise in the system of democratic governance.   

Although there is no official confirmation with regard to the speculated BSP-BRS alliance, sources said the two parties are negotiating a deal to form a coalition to take on the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and also the Congress-headed INDIA alliance. 

A recent meeting between BSP’s Telangana state president Dr RS Praveen Kumar with BRS supremo K. Chandrashekar Rao has fuelled the speculation of a possible alliance between the two parties.
A recent meeting between BSP’s Telangana state president Dr RS Praveen Kumar with BRS supremo K. Chandrashekar Rao has fuelled the speculation of a possible alliance between the two parties.

The Congress last year pulled off a morale-booster victory in Telangana by defeating the mighty BRS government. This win alleviated partially the pain the grand old party had endured from its decisive losses in three north Indian states — Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.  

The BSP is likely to get two seat seats in the alliance, with Kumar contesting from the Nagarkurnool Lok Sabha segment.

Born on November 23, 1967, Repalle Shiva Praveen Kumar was a former Indian Police Service officer who held the position of secretary for both the Telangana Tribal Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society and the Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society.

He joined the BSP after quitting his government post, claiming it was time for “Dalits and Bahujans (socially marginalised) strive to achieve political power” in the state. He lost the Telangana Legislative Assembly election in 2023 from the Sirpur constituency.

He undertook a Bahujan Rajyadhikar Yatra in 2022 and travelled extensively across the state with the aim to reach the masses. 

The BSP contested 107 out of the 119 Assembly seats in the state but failed to bag even one. Ahead of the election, Mayawati had announced Kumar as the chief ministerial candidate.

BSP’s Alliance Politics — a Deal of Gain or Loss?  

It was in 1992 that the BSP entered into an alliance with the Samajwadi Party (SP) for the first time in Uttar Pradesh. The late Mulayam Singh-led party had contested 256 seats, while Mayawati’s party had 164 seats — with the former winning 109 and the latter 67. 

However, the outfits parted ways in 1995 after the infamous June 2, 1995 Guest House case wherein SP members allegedly surrounded Mayawati during a power struggle between the two alliance partners. The incident “not only changed the politics in UP but impacted the politics of the country as a whole”.

Later in 1996,  the party allied with Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in Punjab — the home state of BSP founder Kanshiram. The party reaped its benefits and won three of the four seats it contested.

The party fought the 1996 Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh with the Congress and won 67 seats, with the alliance winning a total of 100 seats. 

The BSP since then didn’t enter into an alliance with any party for a long time. It is believed that the recognition of the BSP as a national party by the Election Commission boosted its confidence; and therefore, it entered into fray solo in the successive elections.

Political watchers told The Mooknayak the BSP is reluctant to enter into an alliance with other parties as that would restrict its chances of retaining its national party status.

“Contesting maximum seats ensures an increase in vote percentage, which is crucial for retaining the national party status,” explained one of the party observers. 

However, setbacks in elections post 2014 have forced the party to revisit its strategy. It joined hands with its arch-rival SP for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. It helped the BSP increase its tally to 10 from 0 in the 2014 general elections.

Despite gaining, the party snapped ties with the SP led by former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and decided to independently contest the 2022 Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. The decision resulted in a humiliating defeat, with the BSP winning just one seat.

After 16 years, the party aligned with the SAD for the 2022 Assembly elections in Punjab. But the alliance failed to benefit both its partners. While the SAD won only three of the total 117 seats in the state, the BSP got one.

This was in stark contrast to their previous alliance in 1996, when both the parties gained immensely.

Recently, the party fought the Madhya Pradesh Assembly election in 2023 as part of a coalition with the Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP). Here, the BSP fielded its candidates in 178 constituencies but drew a blank. The GGP managed to win one seat. 

It has to be seen if the alliance with BRS in Telangana helps the BSP arrest its decline.

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