Left with little room in SP-BSP alliance, RLD leader Jayant Chaudhury discusses seat-sharing with Akhilesh Yadav

Akhilesh Yadav may agree to spare one seat from the SP’s quota to the RLD or the two leaders may work out a formula under which SP candidates can contest on the RLD symbol.

Published: 16th January 2019 03:39 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th January 2019 04:42 PM   |  A+A-

Akhilesh Yadav

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav (File | PTI)

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: Haggling over seats with ‘smaller prospective allies’ continued within the SP-BSP
alliance on Wednesday when Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) vice-president Jayant Chaudhary met Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow, making a last-ditch effort to clinch a respectable deal to join the tie-up.

Coming out of the crucial meeting, which continued for around an hour and a half at Samajwadi Party headquarters, Jayant claimed to have had a fruitful dialogue with SP chief promising an announcement over the number of RLD seats later. “The talks went well. I feel that we will be successful in our effort and hopefully we will get a respectable number of seats. The announcement will be made at an appropriate time,” said Jayant.

Notably, without naming it, SP and BSP had cautiously pushed RLD to the category of ‘smaller prospective allies’ while leaving just two out of 80 seats for them. While announcing the alliance at a joint press conference on Saturday, Mayawati had declared that SP and BSP would fight on 38 seats each leaving Amethi and Rae Bareli for Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

ALSO READ: SP-BSP alliance for 2019 Lok Sabha elections: How sworn enemies became friends again​

The crucial meeting between RLD and SP leadership on Wednesday took place after the two leaders met in Lucknow last week and the talks on seat sharing had remained inconclusive. While RLD was seeking
six seats – Baghpat, Amroha, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Hathras and Mathura – to contest, opting out Kairana for the SP to field its candidate.

In October bypoll, Kairana was won by a combined opposition candidate Tabassum Hasan who
fought on an RLD ticket.

As per insiders, Jayant had climbed down from six to four seats in the alliance but Akhilesh was not ready to concede more than one seat from his chunk. However, it was decided that SP chief would take the final call over the number of seats to be given to RLD only after consulting Mayawati.

ALSO READ: Alliance will work as long as Akhilesh bows down before Mayawati: SP MLA Hariom Yadav

Speaking to media persons after meeting Akhilesh, Jayant took a high moral ground saying personal relations (with SP and BSP) mattered more than a few seats. “We have to fight this battle together. We
had seen a better coordination and smooth sailing during Kairana bypoll,” Jayant said.

While Mayawati is believed to have made it amply clear to SP chief that she won’t concede even a single seat from her quota, in all probability it would be expected from Akhilesh to accommodate RLD. “We
have left our claim on Hathras after coming to know that it was within the BSP share,” said a senior RLD leader seeking anonymity.

ALSO READ: Tejashwi’s meetings with Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav raise Congress’s hackles in Bihar

According to sources, Akhilesh Yadav may agree to spare one seat from the SP’s quota to the RLD or the two leaders may work out a formula under which SP candidates can contest on the RLD symbol in one or two constituencies as the two parties successfully did in the Kairana Lok Sabha by-election in May last year.

Earlier, shocked and hurt over being sidelined by the BSP and SP leadership, RLD's Chaudhary Ajit Singh had expressed his dismay on Sunday by claiming that his party would not settle anything less than five seats in the gathbandhan. He had even indicated that RLD would look for other bigger parties for alliance if his demand was not met by SP and BSP.

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