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  India   All India  24 Sep 2018  Ignored by Congress, tribal party plans to go solo

Ignored by Congress, tribal party plans to go solo

Published : Sep 24, 2018, 1:00 am IST
Updated : Sep 24, 2018, 6:38 am IST

Tribal party GGP has presence in at least 20 out of total 52 districts in Madhya Pradesh.

Gandwana Ganatantra Party (GGP) president Hira Singh Markam.
 Gandwana Ganatantra Party (GGP) president Hira Singh Markam.

Bhopal: Peeved at the “indifference” shown towards it by the Congress, the Gandwana Ganatantra Party (GGP), a tribal party having influence in around 50 Assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh, is mulling to go it alone in the year-end polls in the state.

The recent decision by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) not to have truck with the Congress and fight the upcoming elections in MP on its own, has prompted the GGP to consider if it should also follow Mayawati and fight the elections independently.

“The Congress seems to be lacking seriousness in getting the GGP as its ally in the year-end Assembly elections in MP. Moreover, the way the Congress is dealing with the issue has raised doubts in our minds if the party is at all interested in entering into electoral understanding with us,” national general secretary of GGP G.S. Markam told this newspaper.

According to him, the tribal party having presence in at least 20 out of the total 52 districts in MP, has waited for almost two months for a call from Congress to start talks on the issue of seat-sharing between them after MP Congress chief Kamal Nath indicated his keenness to seal alliance with the GGP and the BSP in MP.

“Finally, a meeting was held on September 19 between Mr Nath and representative of the GGP in Bhopal. The meeting lasted a few minutes with Mr Nath asking the GGP representative to submit a list of constituencies where the tribal party planned to field candidates,” GGP sources disclosed.

The way Mr Nath dismissed the GGP representative in just a few minutes has given rise to suspicion that the Congress lacks seriousness on alliance.

The Congress had announced to go for an alliance with the GGP a couple of months ago without taking the tribal party into confidence, thus, creating confusion in GGP cadres.

“Our cadres had started cozying up to local Congress leadership following the declaration by Mr Nath. It appeared to be a game plan by the Congress to woo the local GGP cadres ahead of the Assembly elections. We could smell a rat in the move by the Congress and cleared the confusion among the cadres,” the GGP leader said.

Later, the GGP has began preparation for polls earnestly by declaring that it would field candidates in at least 80 seats.

“It might be the ploy of the Congress to drag the issue till the last moment, leaving no time for the GGP to prepare for the elections. In such a situation, either the Congress will give a paltry 2-3 seats or ask us to get lost, if we do not toe their line,” another GGP leader said, while reasoning out the delay in holding talks by Congress.

“Ironically, it is the Congress which needed us badly and not vice versa. We have nothing to lose even if we draw a blank in the upcoming Assembly elections, but the Congress has everything to lose in the polls which may prove its last chance for survival in MP,” Mr Markam observed.

Mr Markam dropped hints that the GGP would be content with no less  than 25 seats out of the 230 seats as its share if the Congress wants to seal pact with it.

“We will lose our election symbol (saw) and thus our identity if we fielded candidates in fewer than 23 Assembly constituencies as per the rule of Election Commission (EC).

Besides, the Congress will eat into our base by wooing our cadres if we support Congress candidates in our areas of influence. Hence, we need a share of at least 23 seats if the Congress wants an alliance with us”, he added.

The GGP has consistently been securing around five lakh votes in the last three Assembly elections.

In the 2013 elections, the GGP had fielded candidates on 56 seats and secured 10,000-30,000 votes in 37 constituencies, which cost the Congress at least a dozen seats.

“Alliance talks between the GGP and the Congress are going on. The view of our leadership is that the Congress will gain in at least 15 seats if the party leaves 3-4 seats to the GGP,” a Congress leader said.

He, however, failed to explain the delay in holding talks with the GGP to finalise the seat-sharing agreement.

Tags: madhya pradesh, gandwana ganatantra party