UP politics: In season of realignments, can RLD tilt scale for Maya-Akhilesh in Modi bastion?

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Updated: Jan 16, 2019 5:47 PM

Uttar Pradesh is likely to see political consolidation ahead of Lok Sabha elections. Ajit Singh's RLD is in advance stages of talks with SP and BSP for an entry into the alliance against BJP.

File Photo of Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav with BSP Supremo Mayawati.

Political circles in Lucknow are abuzz following a meeting between Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Jayant Chaudhary on Wednesday. It is widely speculated that the leaders will soon announce RLD’s entry into the SP-BSP alliance in Uttar Pradesh.

It is rumoured that RLD will get four parliamentary seats out of a total 80 seats in India’s most populous state. The SP and BSP had decided to contest in 38 seats each, leaving four seats for like minded parties. The alliance has announced that it will not put up candidates in Rai Bareilly and Amethi, currently represented by Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. It is rumoured that Samajwadi Party may part with four seats from its quota of 38 for RLD.

Rashtriya Lok Dal led by Jayan’t father Ajit Singh has a strong presence in Western UP and has the backing of the powerful Jat community. An alliance with RLD will strengthen SP’s position in western UP, where it will face strong contest from BJP that had secured 19 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 out of a total 20 seats in the region except Firozabad. SP has the backing of powerful Yadav and Muslim communities in the region.

RLD Supremo Ajit Singh has already announced his intention to contest from Baghpat constituency while his son Jayant Chaudhary is set to contest from Mathura Lok Sabha seat which he lost to BJP candidate Hema Malini in the last general election.

Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samajwadi Party ruled Uttar Pradesh for 15 years till 2017, when an unprecedented wave of support in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi swept the BJP to power in the state with three fourths majority. The victory of Bhartiya Janata Party forced the arch rivals SP and BSP to announce a seat sharing pact to take on the ruling party.

Though an alliance between the SP and BSP looks unassailable on paper, it is important for them to rope in regional forces like Rashtriya Lok Dal to take on BJP, which is already in an alliance with Anupriya Patel-led Apna Dal and Omprakash Rajbhar-led Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party that enjoy considerable support among Kurmi and Rajbhar communities, respectively.

The possibility of a three-way alliance between the parites was visible when both Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party supported Rashtriya Lok Dal candidate Tabassum Hasan in Kairana Lok Sabha by-election last year. Hasan defeated BJP candidate Mriganka Singh by a margin of over 40,000 votes. Defeat in Kairana by-election was seen as a major set back for both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and hardline Hindutva mascot Yogi Adityanath.

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