Jayant Singh, Akhilesh meet, inch closer to poll tie-up

Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Jayant Singh with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Jayant Singh met Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday to firm up the alliance for next year’s Assembly polls.

Both the leaders shared photos of the meeting on social media, with Mr. Singh captioning it as “Badhte Kadam (advancing steps)”. RLD sources said there had already been two rounds of talks but Mr. Singh surprised many by making his Lucknow visit public. “Perhaps, he wanted to silence the speculations around the alliance,” said a senior party leader.

“As the caption suggests, the discussion on seats has not reached a conclusion. We have been asking for 40-42 seats and might have to settle at 36-38 seats,” he said. “There may be a few seats where our candidate will fight on SP’s symbol and there will be one or two seats where their candidate will contest on our symbol,” he added.

After PM Narendra Modi announced the repeal of farm laws, rumours were rife that BJP was once again wooing the RLD, which has emerged as the political face of the farmers’ protest. Earlier, Congress leaders in the State also described RLD as a prospective partner.

Senior RLD leader Ajay Tomar said SP and RLD were “natural allies as both stood for the interests of farmers and workers. We might get 40 odd seats but our impact would be felt in around 120-130 seats of West U.P. and help the alliance vanquish the BJP.”

With Home Minister Amit Shah primed to launch ‘win booth, win U..P’ outreach in western U.P., Tuesday’s meeting will send a clear message to the party workers and help consolidate the Jat, Yadav, and Muslim voters.

Party sources said a formal announcement would be made on December 23, the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh, the grandfather of Mr Singh and mentor of Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Mr Tomar admitted that the fathers of Mr. Singh and Mr. Yadav shared an acrimonious relationship after Mulayam Singh outwitted Ajit Singh for the chief minister’s post in 1989.

“The bitterness gradually receded when BJP emerged as the common enemy after the Muzaffarnagar riots. Those who described Mr Singh as opportunistic should remember that he withstood overtures of the BJP and consistently for the secular idea of India and farmers’ interests after 2014.” The two parties are together since the 2017 Assembly polls.

Sources said there are a few constituencies in Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, and Mathura where both parties are staking a claim. For instance, former MLA Harendra Malik recently left the Congress to join the SP and is now staking claim to the Baghra seat in Muzaffarnagar. Observers say Mr Singh’s recent rally in Baghra was to underline the RLD’ s claim.

“Mr Malik won his first election on a Lok Dal ticket. We won’t mind supporting candidates who were once nurtured by Lok Dal and are now in SP. Our common goal is to defeat the BJP which is driving a wedge between farmers on the basis of religion,” said Mr Tomar

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2022 6:23:35 PM |

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