ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Madhya Pradesh : Close Encounters

Close Encounters The political drama in Uttar Pradesh last August unfolded against the backdrop of the assembly elections in some states scheduled for December. The Congress did a balancing act: by supporting the Samajwadi Party government from outside and not joining it, the party tried not to antagonise Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati. The Congress, by all indications, was hoping for an understanding with the BSP in the assembly elections, especially in Madhya Pradesh. The BSP had won 11 seats and 6.5 per cent of the vote in the 1998 assembly elections in MP and a tie-up with it could help the Congress in the state, given that the difference in the vote shares of the Congress and the BJP has always been narrow. In the 1998 assembly elections the vote share difference between the Congress and the BJP was just 2 percentage points which, however, translated into as many as 52 more seats for the Congress. In 1993 the vote shares of the Congress and the BJP were 40.7 and 38.8 per cent respectively, but the former got 57 seats more. This essential bipolarity of Madhya Pradesh politics is likely to be further consolidated in the coming elections as the state BSP has split over differences on which of the two all-India parties to tactically ally with.

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