Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Jayant Chaudhary said that a delayed alliance with the Samajwadi Party was one of the reasons why the candidates fielded by his party in 33 seats failed to campaign and communicate their message to the people properly.
“Out of 33 seats we fought, if we had issues in one or two seats, that is nothing. We faced problems because the seats we were contesting on were going to polls in the first phase. So, immediately we had to bring everything together. Our alliance talks were still going on. So, there are a few seats where if we had declared our candidates a little earlier, the candidates would have got more time to campaign and communicate our message to the people. That is one failing we can address while going forward,” Chaudhary said in an exclusive interview to The Indian Express.
While RLD’s tally increased one in 2017 to eight seats, Chaudhary said the performance could have been better had the alliance talks been concluded earlier.
Explaining why his party could not announce candidates earlier, the RLD chief said: “Because of the alliance talks. There were some issues, back and forth on seats. We had largely an understanding that yes we are together. Beyond that at the micro level, you also have to look at what the opponents are doing, so, perhaps, we waited for too long there. In some seats, where we lost by very low margins, maybe even a week more would have made a difference.”
He also rejected the notion that there was a pro-incumbency vote in the state, instead there was a pro-vote for the SP-RLD alliance which led to their seat tally more than double as compared to 2017.
“I feel because of the hard work we put in over the last few years, especially by being at the front of the anti-establishment movements, there was a pro-vote for us as well in our region. And there were anti-BJP votes. As a result, we won eight seats and narrowly lost a few,” he said.
Chaudhary also alleged that Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party aided the BJP in the elections. “In our area in western UP, the BSP was a significant political player, which has seen a rapid shrinking of its vote share. The feedback from some of our candidates is that in some constituencies, it was almost like the BSP cadre was specifically instructed to transfer votes to the BJP,” he said.
He also rejected Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement that 2022 UP elections will set the trend for 2024 Lok Sabha polls, saying that it’s the issues of that particular time which decide the outcome of any election.