Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh has said that the alliance between Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party and Ajit Jogi’s party is a “third force” and cannot be ignored, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday. He said the alliance will have an impact on around 30 of the state’s 90 constituencies that will vote on November 12 and November 20. The results of the elections will be declared on December 11.

Former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi’s Chhattisgarh Janata Congress has tied up with the Bahujan Samaj Party in the state. The Communist Party of India has also joined the alliance.

“Look, this [alliance] cannot be totally ignored. You cannot close your eyes on this,” Singh told the newspaper in an interview. “This is a third force. The Bahujan Samaj Party has 4% to 5% votes, Jogi has 2% to 3% votes. It may seem big-big [individually], but if 5% to 6% votes go to one side, it will leave its effect on the elections. The impact of this will be on around 30 constituencies – it will definitely have an influence.”

Singh said the upcoming state elections are centred on all-round development of the state. He said under the Bharatiya Janata Party government, the state had received electricity, roads and proper procedure for paddy procurement.

The chief minister is contesting against former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s niece and Congress candidate Karuna Shukla in Rajnandgaon constituency. He claimed Shukla had opposed Vajpayee, a former BJP leader, by joining the Congress.

“The ideological difference that Atal ji had was on the issue of Ekatma Manavad [integral humanism]...the difference was with the Congress. He could never be on the same page with the Congress. That is why Karuna ji cannot speak of herself in the same breath as Atal ji,” he said.

Shukla is a former Bharatiya Janata Party MP who quit the saffron party in 2013, after accusing it of torturing her mentally. She then joined the Congress in 2014 and contested the Lok Sabha elections from Bilaspur, but lost.

Singh said the construction of Ram temple in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya is not an election issue in Chhattisgarh. “Yes, it is an emotional issue. Every person in Chhattisgarh wants a mandir to be made at the same place,” he told The Indian Express. “There are no doubts that a mandir will be built there in Ayodhya, at the same spot. It is [only] a matter of procedure now – whether it will happen through the court’s decision, or a law [will be made], or an ordinance in Parliament.”