BSP on the verge of losing the national party tag

BSP on the verge of losing the national party tag
Highlights

Even 2% vote for BSP this time could be crucial for some candidates,” a Congress leader said.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), for the first time, has fetched candidates in all 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka, under pressure to keep its national party tag intact. Besides four seats in this general election, the party must win 6% of votes in four states, to guarantee that it is acknowledged as a national party.

With a national vote share of 6.2% and 21 seats, the BSP was first recognized as a national party in 2009, nevertheless it gathered only 4.2% votes in 2014, failing to win even one seat.

In 1989, the BSP contested Lok Sabha elections for the first time, fetching candidates in 245 constituencies. Out of all, it won three, gathering a vote share of 2.1%. As the party extended over the years, it contesting as many as 500 Lok Sabha seats in 2009 and gathering 6.2% of votes, which was its best performance ever. It ended up without winning a seat, when it went on to contest 503 seats in 2014. It is contesting 509 seats, this year.

The sole BSP MLA from Karnataka and former minister N Mahesh, said, "Apart from UP, the party is relying hugely on Karnataka. That's the reason, our madam (Mayawati) was here to address a rally. As of now, we look like we'll do well in Chamarajanagar, Chikkaballapura and Ballari constituencies."

Although BSP has no potential to win, it can affect the prospects of the Congress-JD(S) association say certain Congress leaders. The BSP had contested from 20 seats and won 2% votes, in the 2014 elections. Even 2% vote this time could be crucial for some candidates," a Congress leader said.

Nevertheless some political professionals think that for major political parties BSP will not matter. "BSP is a marginal player in Karnataka both in terms of its vote share and in terms of seat. It has never made a dent in Lok Sabha polls in the state. So, it may not have a significant impact on the Congress-JD(S) alliance vote share. There are more serious factors that the alliance needs to worry about," said Sandeep Shastri, a political analyst.

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