Amidst reports of anti-incumbency wave in the Lok Sabha elections which is expected to affect the Congress and allies the most, the smaller parties could also face the heat, say observers.
Maharashtra is a home to at least six small parties, which have significant presence in different parts of the state. This includes Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna (SSS) led by Raju Shetti, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) led by Hitendra Thakur, Rashtriya Samaj Paksha (RSP) led by Jankar, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) led by Vilas Garud, Samajwadi Party (SP) led by Abu Azmi, Bhartiya Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) led by Prakash Ambedkar, Peasant and Workers Party (PWP) led by Jayant Patil, Republican Party of India (RPI-A) led by Ramdas Athawale.
"The strong undercurrent of anti-incumbency and polarised environment will not only affect the ruling parties, but small parties would also find it difficult to survive due to high voter turnout, which usually favours big parties," says Prakash Bal Joshi, a political analyst.
However, parties like SSS, RPI (A) and RSP who have already forged a pre-poll alliance with the Sena-BJP and are contesting only couple of seats could benefit in the situation, those like BSP, SP, PWP and BBM which have chosen to go alone may find themselves in a tight spot mainly due to their volatile voter-base. SSS contests from Hatkadangle, Madha seats, RPI (A) from Satara and RSP from Baramati.
The BSP, SP and BBM are contesting 48, 21 and 41 seats, respectively. While BSP and SP have never opened their account in Maharashtra, the BBM had one MP in the past.
Denying any Modi wave, Vilas Garud, the BSP state chief says, "There is an anti-Congress wave in the country due to huge corruption and inflation. Also, 50% population is opposed to BJP's divisive agenda. We would benefit from this situation. Our post-poll report says we will win in Nagpur, Yavatmal, Amravati, Ramtek, Nanded, Parbhani, Latur for which polls have been conducted."
Milind Ballal, a senior journalist, said these parties are too small to have any consequence of the Modi or anti-incumbency wave.
"Despite being in the existence for many years, these parties have failed to exert their influence in the parliamentary polls," says Ballal.
1) SP: Contesting at 21 seats, no alliance
2) BSP: All 48 seats, no alliance
3) PWP: 2 seats (Maval and Raigad), no alliance
4) BBM: 41 seats, no alliance.
5) Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna: 2 seats, alliance with BJP-Sena
6) RPI (A): 1 seat (Satara), alliance with BJP-Sena
7) BVA : 2 seats, alliance with Congress.