BSP looking to play kingmaker again in Uttarakhand

BSP looking to play kingmaker again in Uttarakhand
Having bailed out Chief Minister Harish Rawat once, the BSP is looking to play kingmaker again in Uttarakhand. Uttarakhand has witnessed largely two-party politics with the Congress and the BJP being the key rivals and outfits such as the BSP, Uttarakhand Kranti Dal and Samajwadi Party remaining on the fringes.

When the BJP tried to dislodge the Rawat government in May last year by engineering defections, it was the two-member BSP and some independent MLAs who saved the day for the Congress. The BSP has fielded 50 candidates in the 70-member Assembly and its influence can be seen in constituencies bordering Uttar Pradesh, particularly the Haridwar plains.

Manglour, considered to be the gateway to Uttarakhand as one drives from Delhi to Haridwar, has legislator Sarwat Karim Ansari testing his luck again, while local strongman Subhash Chowdhary is in the fray from neighbouring Laksar. “No government can be formed without the support of BSP,” Chowdhary told DH even as he issued directions to his workers about campaigning.

Flaunting his ‘son of the soil’ credentials, the BSP candidate said he was confident that the party can also form the government on its own strength. In Haridwar Rural constituency, BSP leader Mohammad Mukkaram Ansari has thrown his hat in the ring against Chief Minister Harish Rawat and the BJP legislator Swami Yatishwarananda. The Congress is not amused at the BSP putting up candidates against the chief minister after supporting his government.

“The least they could have done is not put up candidates against the chief minister,” Congress leader Hanif Ansari, who gave up his claim for the Haridwar Rural seat, told DH.

The unease in the Congress ranks is understandable as the Assembly constituency is dominated by Muslim voters. Of the 1.2 lakh voters, Muslims  constitute 48,000, while Dalits and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) form the next big chunks. The BJP had succeeded in wooing the Dalit and OBC communities in the last Assembly polls and now hopes that  BSP candidate Ansari would help Yatishwarananda retain the seat.
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