Sharad Yadav's supporters are trying to bring the Congress, the largest opposition party in the state, on board to put up a united fight against the BJP which is in power in Madhya Pradesh since 2003.
The Congress, out of power in Madhya Pradesh for nearly 15 years, has also expressed its willingness to align with like-minded parties to take on the BJP. "We are trying hard to form a 'mahagathbandhan' (grand alliance) in Madhya Pradesh with the help of the Congress," Govind Yadav, former president of the state unit of the JD (U) and a confidant of Sharad Yadav, said.
In April, supporters of Sharad Yadav announced the formation of the Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD), a new political outfit. The former Union minister has made it clear he was not yet a member of the new party as his legal claim to represent the JD(U) was still sub-judice. "To this end, we have already helped two tribal political parties to sink their differences and join hands. The Bharatiya Gondwana Party (BGP) has aligned with the Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP) for the polls," added.
The BGP is a breakaway faction of the GGP which had won three seats in the 2003 Assembly elections and eaten into the Congress' traditional tribal vote bank, Govind Yadav told PTI.
Both the tribal political parties have formed a coordination committee and decided to fight the elections, slated by the year-end, under the GGP's banner, said GGP national convener Gulzar Singh Markam.
The slipping away of the tribal vote from the Congress had benefited the BJP, which ousted the 10-year-old Digvijay Singh government in 2003, he added. "We are going to hold a massive tribal meet on June 24 in Jabalpur - from where Sharad Yadav started his political career and become a member of the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1974," Mr Markam said.
"We have invited Sharadji for the meet," he added.
Mr Markam said tribals account for 18 per cent of Madhya Pradesh's population and play a key role in deciding the electoral outcome in a number of segments in the 230-member House.
"A united BSP had won 11 Assembly seats each in the 1993 and 1998 Assembly polls in the undivided MP," he added.
After BSP leader Phool Singh Baraiya quit in 2003 and formed the BSD, the Mayawati-led party's electoral fortunes nosedived in Madhya Pradesh. Mr Baraiya had served as the state unit chief of the Dalit outfit.
In 2013, the BSP managed to win just four Assembly seats. "We are going to hold a massive rally on June 17 in Bhopal," Mr Baraiya said, adding Sharad Yadav, Dalit leader Prakash Amdekar and BSP founder Kanshi Ram's sister Swarn Kaur have been invited for the function.
Prakash Amdekar, grandson of Dalit icon B R Amdekar, has already accepted our invite, he said. "We, through some people, have sent a request to BSP chief Mayawati to attend the rally," he added.
In the last assembly polls, the BJP had won 165 seats, while the Congress bagged 58. Their vote share was 44.48 per cent and 36.38 per cent, respectively.
The BSP, the SP and the GGP had notched up 6.29 per cent, 1.25 per cent and 1 per cent vote share, respectively.
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