LUCKNOW: After over a month-long parleys, Chaudhury Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) formally joined the SP-BSP alliance in UP to take on the ruling BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The two major allies have spared three seats for the Jat party thus putting all the speculations to rest here on Tuesday.
The announcement to this effect was made by SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and RLD vice-president Jayant Chaudhury at a joint press conference at SP headquarters on Tuesday. As per the understanding, RLD would field its candidates on three seats-- possibly Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat and Mathura—first two in western UP and Mathura in Braj region of the state. This figure is up one from the two that were left for it when Mayawati and Akhilesh had announced their alliance on January 12.
The additional seat that has gone to RLD has been conceded by the Samajwadi Party from its chunk of 38. Now SP will contest on 37 seats while the BSP will contest on 38. The two parties have given a
walk over to Congress in Rae Bareli and Amethi. UP sends 80 lawmakers to the Lok Sabha.
“Rashtriya Lok Dal now joins the BSP-SP alliance in Uttar Pradesh. We will field candidates on our symbol on three seats and we will work hard to ensure victory of alliance candidate on all 80 seats,” said Jayant Chaudhary sharing the dais Akhilesh.
Initially, when the alliance talks were in nascent stage, RLD had put forth its demand for half a dozen seats of western UP but had to settle with just three. The Jat party, which RLD is known as, enjoys its clout basically in western UP. In upcoming elections, after joining the opposition alliance, it faces the tough task of bringing Jats and Muslim together for they had drifted apart following 2013 communal riots which had left Muzaffarnagar and adjoining districts ravaged. Around 70 lives were lost and over 50,000 people were displaced from the affected districts.
In 2014 LS polls, the RLD, which had fielded its candidates on eight seats of western UP as UPA alliance partner, could not win a single seat and had polled only 0.86 per cent votes. Even RLD Ajit Singh, a six-time MP from Baghpat, lost it to BJP’s Satyapal Singh. Ajit Singh got 19.9 per cent votes against 42.2 per cent of Satyapal Singh.
Similarly, Jayant had tried his luck against Bollywood star and BJP candidate Hema Malini in Mathura but lost it to her by a margin of around 29 per cent votes. While Hema Malini got 52 per cent votes, Jayant could manage just 22.62 per cent.
In the 2017 UP state elections also, the RLD won only one seat out of the 277 it contested, and got 2.59 per cent votes. As per the speculations, this time around, Ajit Singh would contest from Muzaffarnagar and Jayant will go to Baghpat in his father’s place.
Meanwhile, Akhilesh Yadav reiterated yet again that the Congress, too, was part of the mahagathbandhan in Uttar Pradesh.“Congress is also a part of our alliance. Why do you (media) repeatedly ask if Congress will come with us or not? I have said before also that Congress is part of Mahagatbandhan, they will
contest on 2 seats in our alliance,” he said.
However, during the press conference, Akhilesh could not keep himself away from the chorus for proof of Balakot airstrikes conducted by IAF on February 26. He demanded the Centre to come clear on the issue. “The people want to know the truth of airstrikes and the onus is on the government to come out with the
facts on the issue,” he said adding there should be no politics with the army and the martyrs of the country.