NEW DELHI: Akhilesh Yadav and Jayant Chaudhary virtually made it official on Tuesday that their parties, the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), respectively, had sealed the deal to contest the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections in alliance.
The two leaders met in Lucknow, apparently to discuss seat-sharing. They both later tweeted that they were moving together towards change. “Shri Jayant Chaudhary ji ke saath badlav ke ore (With Jayant Chaudhary for change,” the SP chief said in his twitter post. The RLD leader, too, posted a photograph of his meeting with Akhilesh and tweeted, “Badhte Kadam.”
Speaking to this newspaper over phone, SP spokesperson Manoj Rai confirmed that alliance with RLD was finalised. “The details on seat-sharing would be announced after proper discussion,” he said. Sources, meanwhile, said the seat-sharing was also finalised and the announcement would be made soon.
Sources from the RLD said the party expected to contest over 36 seats in western UP as it had a strong base here. The RLD had reportedly demanded 50 seats from the SP. The SP is learnt to have agreed to offer 30-36 seats of its choice in western UP to RLD.
According to sources, the deal between the two parties was earlier stuck over Charthawal assembly seat in Muzaffarnagar district, with Akhilesh adamant to field SP candidate Harendra Malik from there. The sources said the RLD agreed for alliance after the SP dropped its claimed on Charthawal, from which Jayant himself is considering to contest. BJP’s Vijay Kumar Kushwaha was elected in 2017 from the seat.
The RLD is believed to have consolidated its electoral base in western UP during the farmers’ agitation. “With its strong support among Jats, it can give a tougher fight to the BJP in western UP than the SP,” said a political observer.