Mumbai, Nov 14: The Rashtriya Samaj Party (RSP), which is an alliance partner of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra, will contest Gujarat Assembly elections 2017 independently. The RSP, led by Maharashtra minister Mahadeo Jankar, is planning to contest from at least 40 seats in the Gujarat assembly polls. The party would field candidates mainly in districts like Vadodara, Mehsana and Surat.

The RSP has a base among dhangar (shepherd) and other nomadic communities in Maharashtra. For Gujarat Assembly polls, it plans to poach rebel members of other parties as its nominees, said a DNA report. The RSP had 14 corporators in Gujarat, in districts like Vadodara, Mehsana and Padra and that’s why the party finds better prospects in these districts. The RSP is contesting Assembly polls in Gujarat for the third time.

The RSP had fought from 16 constituencies of Gujarat Assembly. “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,” party’s head Mahadeo Jankar was quoted as saying. According to Jankar, the RSP declined to form an alliance with Congress and is ready to tie-up with BJP for Gujarat Assembly polls.

The RSP claims to have a base in the Brahmin, Marwadi and OBC communities in Gujarat. The party also has support in the pastoral Bharwad and Rabari communities, who feel neglected by the ruling BJP in Gujarat. According to RSP corporator Rajesh Ayare, they enjoyed support among local Gujaratis as well as the Marathi speakers.

Earlier, the Shiv Sena, an estranged alliance partner of the BJP in Maharashtra, announced its decision to fight between 50 to 75 seats in Gujarat. The Gujarat elections will be held in two phases on December 9 and 14 and the results will be declared on December 18.