Rumblings of discontent rattled the 18-party strong third Front with Republican Party of India (RPI) leader Rajendra Gavai raising a banner of revolt against party colleague Ramdas Athawale for attempting to hijack the front’s leadership.
The developments came barely a fortnight after the Third Front, christened the Republican Left Democratic Front (RLDF), was formed and just a day after it released an ambitious joint election manifesto.
“RLDF does not belong to any single leader, it is a coalition of 18 parties, all of which have an equal right in the decision making process. But Athawale has been taking decisions without even consulting us and certain things we learnt through media conferences,” Gavai said.
He was making a pointed reference to Athavale’s move to offer five seats to Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) headed by former union minister Ram Vilas Paswan for the Oct 13 Assembly elections in Maharashtra.
The RLDF is in the process of working out seat-sharing deals and so far 260 seats have been unanimously decided by the 18-party leaders.
“Even as our talks are continuing for the remaining 28 seats, Athavale has gone ahead and offered five seats to LJP,” said Gavai, part of the RPI-United (RPI-U), a coalition of all factions of RPI that was formed last month.
Gavai’s opposition to Athawale’s decision also comes from the fact that the LJP was earlier a part of the Third Front. However, it later parted company to join hands with Bharatiya Republican Party (BRP) leader Prakash Ambedkar, who stayed away from from the RPI-U.
According to party circles, LJP, which was offered only one seat in the earlier seat-sharing formula for 200 seats, demanded more seats. It is believed that in order to bring it back to the RLDF fold, Athawale decided to hand over five seats to Paswan’s party.
However, Gavai claimed that he would not leave the Third Front and would do everything to save the RPI-U.
“We are not opposed to the LJP or Paswan joining RLDF, but Athawale should have consulted us. If he continues to ignore the other parties in the Third Front on such important decisions, then we shall be left with no options,” Gavai said, making a veiled threat to quit.
Reacting to the developments, Athawale maintained that all decisions are being taken unanimously.
Small parties unite to form third front – 26th August
Maharashtra will witness triangular contests in the assembly elections scheduled for October with smaller and secular parties banding together on Monday to form a third front called the Republican Democratic Left Front (RDLF).
In political circles, setting up of the third front is considered a setback to the Democratic Front (DF) comprising the Congress and the NCP. A senior Congress minister said that unless the DF takes the third front seriously, it would split secular votes which will benefit the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance.According to RPI chief Ramdas Athawale, 17 smaller parties, including the United RPI, PWP, Janata Dal(S), Samajwadi Party(SP), CPM, and Raju Shetty-led Swabhiman Shetkari Sanghatana have joined the third front. A crucial meeting was held at the PWP office which was attended by Athawale, Dr Rajendra Gavai(both RPI), Shetty, Sharad Patil and Pratap Hogade (both Janata Dal) and Abu Azmi (SP).
The third front decided to organise a show of strength at Shivaji Park on September 12 to send a message about the front’s decision to fight all the 288 assembly seats.
The front leaders will meet again on August 28 to start the process of sharing seats for the polls. The Congress-NCP have yet to decide whether to go in for a pre-poll alliance. Mayawati’s BSP is all set to go on its own.
The Shiv Sena-BJP is eager to hammer out a seat-sharing formula before other parties start the process. But both parties are waiting for the actual announcement of the polls.
Third front jolted as RPI quits ahead of polls – 23rd September
Nagpur : In a pre-election blow to the 18-party Third Front, the Republican Party of India (RPI)-Gavai – an important component – walked out of the alliance here Tuesday.
RPI leader Rajendra Gavai announced that his party would independently contest at least 15 seats in eastern Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region for the Oct 13 assembly elections.
Ramdas Athavale, who heads the Third Front christened as Republican Left Democratic Front (RLDF), dismissed the development, saying that the RPI(G)’s exit from the conglomerate would not have “any impact” on its poll prospects.
Gavai’s decision came six days after he accused Athavale of attempting to ‘hijack’ the group’s leadership, and threatened to quit the RLDF.
“RLDF does not belong to any single leader, it is a coalition of 18 parties, all of which have an equal right in the decision-making process. But Athawale has been taking decisions without even consulting us. Certain things we learnt through media conferences,” Gavai said Sep 15, a day after the group’s joint election manifesto was released in Mumbai.
Gavai’s grouse stemmed from Athavale’s move to offer five seats to the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) of former union minister Ram Vilas Paswan.
While the RLDF had worked out seat-sharing deals among its constituents for 260 seats, discussions were on for the remaining 28 seats. The state assembly has a total of 288 seats.
Front could not do well as it lacked money power: athawale – 22nd October
The Republican Left Third Front, formed ahead of assembly elections in Maharashtra, could not fare better as it lacked money power, RPI leader Ramdas Athawale said today. The front contested all 288 seats and as per the latest figures, looks set to bag around 10 seats.
“We could have done better. We fell short as far as money power was concerned,” Athawale, who played a key role in the formation of the Front, said.
“This election was important in the sense that there was rampant use of money. We will ask the Election Commission to ensure that elections are fought with as little money as possible,” the former Lok Sabha member said.Asked if the front’s strategy to not align with either the ruling Congress-NCP combine or the opposition Shiv Sena-BJP alliance had failed, Athawale said “now, in any case, Congress-NCP do not need our support to form the government.”
The stage is set for the 13th Oct 2009, assembly elections in Maharashtra where the ruling Congress-led alliance faces a stiff challenge from the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine for the control of one of India’s most industrialized states.
In 2004, the Congress and NCP won 139 seats in the 288-member assembly. The Shiv Sena and BJP finished with 119 seats while smaller groups as well as independents secured 30 seats.
This time, Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has cast a long shadow on the Shiv Sena and BJP. For the Congress, the Republican-Left alliance is a worry.
In this year’s Lok Sabha elections, the MNS undercut the Shiv Sena and BJP in at least 10 Lok Sabha constituencies.
The elections will be a credibility test for Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who took charge of Maharashtra after the November 2008 terror attack on Mumbai.
For Shiv Sena’s Udhav Thackeray, this is the first assembly election in which he will compete less with the ruling combine than his own estranged cousin Raj Thackeray.
A total of 3,559 candidates, including 211 women, are in the fray. There will be over 84,000 polling booths.
As the election date is approaching, people are searching for thier names in Voters List.
Ms. Mayawati rally in Kasturchand Park, NAGPUR
NAGPUR, 8th Oct, 2009
to campaign for her party candidates in various constituencies here. The rally, to be held at Kasturchand Park, will be the first at the venue in the run up for October 13 elections in Maharashtra.
Political observers will be keenly watching the crowd response and tenor of her speech. Ever since she attained power with a thumping majority in UP, the BSP has been eying the substantial Dalit votes in Maharashtra especially in regions like Vidarbha. For the last two years, her rallies in the city have been marked by huge crowds. While most political parties shy away from holding rallies at K P because the effort required to fill up the cavernous venue, the BSP deliberately chose to show its growing clout.
Massive crowds have attended her rallies and the party has tried to flex its muscles in the last assembly as well as Lok Sabha elections this year by fielding candidates in almost every constituency. But till date, it has not managed to open its electoral account. However, it played spoilsport for the Congress-NCP and recently for the BJP too at several places as the BSP mostly fielded candidates borrowed from these established parties. The BSP support was largely drawn from the political space it occupied because of the disarray that the Republican Party of India found itself with its countless divisions.
BSP to contest all 288 seats in Maharashtra
Nagpur, 03 Sep, 2009
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has decided to contest all 288 seats for the forthcoming assembly elections scheduled to be held on October 13 on its own.
“As per the directives of party President Mayawati, we will fight alone in state assembly elections on all the 288 seats,” BSP General Secretary and in charge of party affairs in Maharashtra, Vir Singh, MP, said today.
BSP has maintained its upward graph and thus party has decided to fight alone and create a situation where no party is in a position to form the government without its support, Singh told reporters.
Singh along with national secretary K K Sachan and state leaders is already camping in the city to select the probable candidates.
BSP releases appeal, to contest all 288 Assembly seats in Maharashtra
Mumbai, 01 Sep, 2009
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Maharashtra today released an ‘appeal’, instead of any manifesto, by the party chief and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati in the run-up to the October 13 Assembly elections in the state.
Releasing the appeal at a news conference here, BSP national general secretary Dr Suresh Mane said it asked the people of the state to vote the party to power for the welfare of the poor and downtrodden.
He said the party would contest all 288 Assembly seats in the state on its own and added the party chief and other senior leaders would campaign in the polls.
The BSP leader said the party will highlight the ill effects of wrong economic policies of the ruling Congress government at the Centre and state, its failure in handling atrocities against Dalits in the state, the indebtedness of the state (Rs 1,95,000 crore debt) and BSP’s positive sides such as filling backlog of Backward Class employees, end of toll-tax system in Uttar Pradesh.
Emphasising that the number of seats won was not the only criterion for success, Mr Mane said in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls, BSP had won 4.75 per cent votes (17,85,669 votes) and pointed that the party’s voting percentage had increased in every election.
Asked whether BSP had received any invitation from the newly-created Republican Left Democratic Front (RLDF) to join them, Mr Mane said they had never joined any coalitions. If it does, it leads the coalition, he added.
New Delhi: BSP’s ambitions of emerging as a pan-India party today suffered a further jolt when it failed to make any mark in Maharashtra and Haryana assembly polls.
BSP may remain a mere spoiler, say analysts
The electoral battle in Maharashtra has has ended up being a fight between the Congress and the NCP on the one side and BJP and the Shiv Sena on the other, BSP remains overshadowed
New Delhi: Despite the decisive roles it played in the last two parliamentary elections, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), one of the very few political parties that increased its share of votes in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, may remain a mere spoiler in Tuesday’s assembly elections in Maharashtra, say analysts. The reasons: the very nature of its support base as well as its style of functioning, they add.
They say that the BSP, which has grown steadily in Maharashtra—but never opened its account in the 288-member state assembly—has been overshadowed by the advent of the third front, the Republican Left Democratic Front (RLDF), in the state.
The electoral battle in Maharashtra has, over the past few elections, ended up being a fight between the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on the one side and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena on the other.
“The BSP may not be able to grow beyond a point unless something magical happens in the state,” said Jai Mrug, Mumbai-based psephologist.
“The BSP had managed 4% votes in assembly elections and 5.43% in Lok Sabha elections in 2004, largely because of the mismanagement of the Congress party. It is true that its vote share increased, mainly because of the BAMCEF (All India Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation) and DS4 (Dalit Shoshit Samaj Sangharsh Samiti),” added Mrug.
BSP founder Kanshi Ram had launched both the organizations.
During election campaigns in the state, BSP leader Mayawati did draw large crowds, but the coming together of various factions of the Republican Party of India (RPI), and its decision to join the Left and the socialist parties in RLDF is expected to hit the BSP’s prospects.
Analysts say the BSP support was largely drawn from a voter base that was split due to the disarray in RPI.
According to Mrug, this as well as Mayawati’s unwillingness to allow any other leaders to rise to the top would block the growth of the BSP—currently the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh—in Maharashtra.
“It will remain a spoiler now,” said Mrug.
However, Tanuja Khobragade, the BSP candidate from Chandrapur assembly constituency, said the party would emerge as surprise winner in many constituencies as it is the only party that has raised relevant issues.
Khobragade has raised issues such as pollution and unemployment in her constituency, which is surrounded by coal mines.
The BSP, which has 281 candidates in the fray in Tuesday’s elections, has also tried to highlight the alleged fallout of the economic policies of the Congress-NCP government in the state and the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre; the increasing number of atrocities against the Dalits in the state; and the poor state of the Maharashtra economy.
The BSP’s presence has been very visible in the Vidarbha region. Huge hoardings, picturing Mayawati and the party symbol elephant, loud speakers screaming haathi haathi (elephant, elephant), and party workers wearing purple stoles can be spotted in almost all towns in the region.
That may not translate into votes.
“She won’t be able to gather many votes here. Maybe around 200 of the 12,000 votes here,” said Samar, a resident of a largely Bengali neighbourhood in Chandrapur town. He gave only one name.
J.D. Ramtek, a BSP activist, admitted that his party had helped both the fronts (Congress-NCP and Shiv Sena-BJP) in the past.
“But this time, we want to win some seats in Vidarbha,” he said.
Whatever happens, Ramtek added, indirectly agreeing to the general opinion among analysts, the party would “decide who wins the elections”.
Assembly poll outcomes a blow to Mayawati
Lucknow |Friday, 2009 4:05:06 PM IST
The Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) poor showing in the Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh assembly polls has dealt a blow to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati and her dreams of ruling the country.
The BSP, which she heads, failed to open its account in Maharashtra – the land of the party’s biggest icon B.R. Ambedkar – and failed to score beyond one seat even in Haryana. It is yet to take birth in Arunachal.
Mayawati had not only projected her party as a potential “kingmaker” in both Maharashtra and Haryana but she had also pumped in a lot of energy to carve out a place for the BSP in both states. Hoardings outside the Mumbai airport as well as other parts of Maharashtra showed her as the country’s “future prime minister”.
According to the party’s own evaluation, its vote share has gone down in comparison to that in the April-May Lok Sabha polls. As against a 15 percent vote share in the Lok Sabha elections in Haryana, it plummeted to a paltry 7 percent in these polls. In Maharashtra, this figure has fallen from five percent to 4.5 percent.
What made matters worse for Mayawati was the BSP’s sworn political foe Samajwadi Party marching way ahead, by bagging four seats in Maharashtra.
A pall of gloom has descended at the party headquarters here. Party general secretary Satish Chandra Misra, known to be Mayawati’s closest confidante, has chosen to go underground, in an apparent facesaving bid.
Mayawati had been banking on the support of Dalits in the poverty-ridden and Dalit-tribal dominated Vidharbha region of Maharashtra. However, the only seat the party managed to touch in the number two position was Latur city and this too was attributed to the dominant Muslim vote.
Of the 24 Maharashtra seats on which BSP stood at number three position, seven had Muslim candidates.
As for Haryana, the party’s nominees lost their deposits in bulk. The sole winner – at Jagadhri – was a Muslim, Akram Khan, who defeated his Congress rival by a margin of more than 4,000 votes. Only on two seats could the BSP manage to stay on at second position, while figuring at the third place in 12 places.
Evidently, Mayawati’s biggest worry now is forthcoming by-elections to 11 state assembly and one Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh early next month. If the outcome of these polls has any bearing on them, bad news may be awaiting her.
SP scores 4 in Maha polls, BSP still at nil
Express News Service
Posted: Oct 23, 2009 at 0406 hrs IST
Lucknow The Samajwadi Party, which has won four seats in the Maharashtra Assembly elections, on Thursday expressed satisfaction that it had retained its “support base among the minorities and secular-minded people”.
The BSP had contested 281 of the 288 seats in Maharashtra but failed to open its account in the state. Spokesman of SP, Rajendra Chaudhary, said: “Though the chief minister misused public funds in the Assembly elections of other states and tried to whip up passions, it failed to find favour with the electorate there.” He added that even the Dalit electorate was amazed at the “five-star lifestyle of Dalit ki beti”, who has only concentrated on erecting statues and building parks.
Asked about BSP’s dismal show in Maharashtra, party general secretary Suresh Mane, who is based in Mumbai, said: “The BSP expected to win five to seven seats, but the votes cast in favour of the party did not convert into seats.”
Blaming the Third Front and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), Mane added: “While the Third Front was strategically used by the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance, the MNS was used by the Congress. We were marginalised in the process.” The party, however, has marginally increased its vote share to 5 per cent from 4.16 per cent in the 2004 Assembly polls. The Third Front comprising the Left parties, SP, JD(S), Republican Party of India and smaller Maharashtra-based parties like Shetkari Sangathana and Peasants and Workers Party won 9 seats.
Continuing its formula of “social engineering”, the Bahujan Samaj Party on Thursday announced four Brahmin candidates in Maharashtra for the coming Lok Sabha polls.
One of them is the chairman and managing director of the Rs 1,800-crore Pune-based DSK group, DS Kulkarni, who will contest from Pune.
More than 500,000 Brahmins and around 400,000 Dalits are the majority voters in the Pune Lok Sabha constituency. The Marathas and OBCs constitute around 250,000 voters each.
“We will continue with our social engineering formula, which has produced good results for us in Uttar Pradesh [Images ]. We will contest from all the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra and will include all castes and communities including dalits, OBCs, Marathas, Brahmins, Muslims and tribal communities,” BSP’s Maharashtra unit chief Vilas Garud told Business Standard.
The three other Brahmin candidates are environmentalist Jayendra Parulekar from Ratnagiri, head of a prominent shipping company AK Tripathi from Thane, and chief priest of the popular Kalaram temple, Sudheer Das, from Nashik.
DS Kulkarni’s candidature is expected to hit the Bharatiya Janata Party’s [ Images ] performance in Pune, where the party depends on the huge chunk of Brahmin voters. It could also benefit Indian Olympic [ Images ] Association president and Congress Member of Parliament from the city, Suresh Kalmadi.
“We do not care what benefits whom. The BSP was polled 4.6 per cent votes in last Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra and we plan to increase this to 12 per cent this time,” Garud said.
Maharashtra counts its votes Thursday
New Delhi News.Net
Tuesday 20th October, 2009 (IANS)
Maharashtra will Thursday count the millions of votes polled in the assembly elections to decide who gets to rule the sprawling state — one of India’s most industrialised.
Thousands of officials will count the millions of votes polled in the Oct 13 assembly elections to pick a new 288-member legislature.
As the elections took place only five months after the Lok Sabha battle, won by the Congress-led coalition, the mood is quite upbeat in the ruling Congress-led Democratic Front camp in the state.
The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), its ally, are hoping to secure a hat-trick.
But the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiv Sena allinace is determined to dislodge the Congress and NCP and usher in ‘Shiv-Shahi’ (Shivaji’s Rule).
In the 2004 elections, the Congress and the NCP won 139 seats and the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance 119. Independents bagged 30 seats.
Unlike in the past two assembly elections, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) of Raj Thackeray is a factor that threatens to upset the Shiv Sena-BJP calculations.
The MNS proved its nuisance value in at least 10 valuable seats in the Lok Sabha election, estimate the Shiv Sena and the BJP.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Republican Party of India (RPI) and the Left are giving uncomfortable moments to the Congress-NCP coalition.
For the Congress in the state and in New Delhi, the challenge is to retain the second most important political state after Uttar Pradesh.
The elections are a test of credibility for Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who took charge of Maharashtra after the November 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai, replacing Vilasrao Deshmukh.
A victory could help him gain an upper hand over senior party leader Narayan Rane, a former Shiv Sena stalwart who is desperate to become the chief minister.
On the opposition side too, the stakes are equally high.
BJP leader Gopinath Munde, who guided the election battle, is hoping for a win — so as to achieve the coveted status once enjoyed by his brother-in-law, the late Pramod Mahajan.
As for the Shiv Sena, Udhav Thackeray fought the elections less against the ruling combine than his own estranged cousin Raj Thackeray.
The electoral outcome would indicate who the people of Maharashtra consider the rightful heir to Bal Thackeray’s legacy.
Among the most eagerly watched results would be Amravati, where Rajendrasingh Shekhawat, son of President Pratibha Patil contested against a prominent Congress rebel; Wani in Yavatmal from where farmer widow Bebitai Bai tried her luck; and Osmanabad where Jagjitsinh Patil of NCP was pitted against Shiv Sena’s Omraje Nimbalkar.
Union Minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s daughter Praniti stood from Solapur while his colleague Vilasrao Deshmukh’s son Amit contested from Latur.
Election Commission officials say they are ready for the vote count. ‘We are prepared. All arrangements have been made for the peoples’ verdict,’ said an official.
He said the first results would be declared by late morning. All results would be known by late afternoon.
Around 60 percent of the 7.60 crore electorate in the state exercised their franchise Oct 13. There was repolling in 22 polling centres, mostly after Maoist guerrillas tried to disrupt voting.
Maya magic fails to charm Maharashtra, Haryana
Submitted by Sarthak Gupta on Fri, 10/23/2009 – 10:09.