Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati’s trust lieutenant Dharamveer Singh Ashok, who was instrumental in the party’s best ever electoral performance in Rajasthan (2008), returned as BSP’s chief in-charge in the state on Tuesday. Sumrat Singh has been appointed as the new state president, while Bhagwan Singh Baba will continue as one of the state in-charges.
Soon after reaching the party office here, Ashok said he has been tasked to work towards forming the BSP government in Rajasthan in 2018. He ruled out pre-election coalition with any major political party here or even forming or joining a third front with disgruntled leaders of Congress, BJP, NPP or independents.
“BSP will go to the 2018 state elections alone. Anyone who wants to join us will have to take our party membership and accept Behan Mayawati is the leader,” Ashok told reporters. He added that some ‘disgruntled’ leaders have already sent him the ‘feelers’. “Murari Lal Meena, Ramesh Meena, Ramkesh Meena and Giriraj Singh Malinga called me up on the phone and congratulated for returning to Rajasthan.
In politics such signal are enough,” Ashok said, adding that the party would be expanding its memberships in the state. At the same time, Ashok emphasised that former ministers Rajkumar Sharma and Rajendra Singh Ghuda would not be inducted back in the party. “These two men were the main schemers then,” Ashok said, referring to the 2009 incident when all six BSP MLAs in the state switched sides and joined the Congress government led by Ashok Gehlot.
Congress, which then had only 98 MLAs but formed government with support from independents in the 200-member assembly, got clear majority when the BSP MLAs defected. Three of them-Rajkumar Sharma, Rajendra Ghuda and Murari Lal Meena-were made ministers, while Ramesh Meena, Ramkesh Meena and Giriraj Singh Malinga were appointed parliamentary secretaries.