In what may be seen as a blow to the disjointed anti-NDA front in Bihar, the Bahujan Samaj Party has decided to contest all the 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state, a senior party functionary said on Monday.
According to BSP state in-charge Lalji Medhkar, party supremo Mayawati has convened a meeting of all potential candidates and other office-bearers in the national capital later this week.
Behenji has instructed us to start preparations for all the Lok Sabha seats in Bihar. Detailed instructions are expected at the meeting in New Delhi on February 28, Medhkar told PTI.
The development comes at a time when the Mahagathbandhan, comprising RJD, Congress and an assortment of smaller parties is yet to finalize a seat-sharing formula more than two months after NDA did the same.
Although Medhkar did not elaborate much on the instructions received from Mayawati and any reasoning offered for the same, her decision could be seen as a snub to the Congress which she has been cross with since the partys refusal to enter into an alliance in the Madhya Pradesh assembly polls.
It is widely believed that it was because of the BSP supremos insistence that the Congress was kept out of the formidable alliance her party has stitched with the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, even though Akhilesh Yadav was reportedly not as averse to having its old ally on board.
The development also comes as a setback to the RJDs attempts to get closer to the BSP, which would have helped Lalu Prasads party to improve its standing among the dalits in the state.
Notably, Prasad had come out with an offer of getting Mayawati elected to the Rajya Sabha from Bihar, since she did not have the requisite number of MLAs in the assembly of her own state where the BJP stormed to power in the 2017 polls with a brute majority.
Yet another attempt was made by the RJD to win her over when, soon after Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav announced their tie-up, Prasads son and political heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav made a dash to Lucknow, tweeted pictures of his meeting with the BSP supremo whom he greeted by touching her feet and, weeks later, rejoiced at her advent on twitter, claiming that it was he who had requested her to become active on social media.