LUCKNOW: The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) is trying to revive its fortunes in the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, especially in the Jat dominated western UP. The party, headed by Jayant Chaudhury, son of former Union minister late Chaudhury Ajit Singh and great-grandson of popular farmer leader and former prime minister Chaudhury Charan Singh, is believed to enjoy clout among the Jats. The party is now looking to capitalise on the “annoyance” of Jats with the BJP over the contentious farm laws.
In the upcoming battle, the RLD, which has been mobilising farmers against the farm laws, is banking upon not only the unrest among farmers but also on the coming together of Jats and Muslims for a common cause. “The party is hopeful of doing well in 2022 as the social equations are undergoing a change in the wake of farmers’ protest in western UP,” said a senior RLD leader.
The RLD leadership thinks that if it is a hung assembly in 2022, then the party will play a big role in government formation. “So it is of utmost importance to win good number of seats which doesn’t seem impossible,” said the leader.
Jats constitute around 6-7 per cent of total population of Uttar Pradesh and make considerable 15 per cent of western UP population. The community has a sway on 130 seats across 26 districts under six divisions of western UP. In the last three polls – 2014, 2017, 2019 — Jats had voted overwhelmingly for the BJP.
Jayant Chaudhury, also a Jat, had showed his clout at the ‘pagadi’ ritual of his father Chaudhury Ajit Singh who died in May this year. The convergence of various khaps, not only dominated by Jats but also others, to transfer the legacy of Chaudhurys to Jayant at the ritual, has not only given strength to the Chaudhury scion but also instilled confidence in the RLD leadership. RLD sources said Jayant is nurturing Chhaprauli seat, considered a bastion of Chaudhurys, to contest the upcoming elections. Chhaprauli has been known as the ‘Karmbhoomi’ of Chaudhury Charan Singh.