<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the Shiv Sena, it is the turn of another BJP ally to queer the pitch for it in Gujarat. The Rashtriya Samaj Party (RSP), which is led by Maharashtra minister Mahadeo Jankar, is planning to contest from at least 40 seats in the Gujarat assembly polls. The party, which has a base among dhangar (shepherd) and other nomadic communities in Maharashtra, plans to poach disgruntled elements from other parties as its nominees.The Shiv Sena has already announced its decision to fight between 50 to 75 seats in the state which is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state and stronghold.Jankar, who is minister for animal husbandry, dairy development, and fisheries, told DNA that they planned to put up candidates in districts like Vadodara, Mehsana and Surat and claimed that they had a base next to only the BJP and Congress in the state. He added that the RSP had 14 corporators in Gujarat, in districts like Vadodara, Mehsana and Padra.This is the third state assembly election that the RSP will be contesting in Gujarat. In 2012, the RSP had fought from 16 places. “This time, we plan to contest around 40 seats and ensure a win on at least 10… we expect to secure a political opening this time,” claimed Jankar, adding that the state unit was insisting that they contest on at least 100 seats. The RSP claims to have a base in the Brahmin, Marwadi and OBC communities in Gujarat as it has promoted leaders from these groups. The party also has support in the pastoral Bharwad and Rabari communities, who feel neglected by the BJP.Rajesh Ayare, RSP corporator from Vadodara, and the party’s candidate from the Sayajiganj constituency, said they enjoyed support among local Gujaratis as well as the Marathi speakers, who form sizeable numbers in parts of Gujarat.The RSP had been approached for an alliance by the Congress but declined, said Jankar, adding that however, they were willing to contest in an alliance with the BJP in case they secured honorable terms. The RSP had also contested the recent Uttar Pradesh elections.
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