After a long-drawn bargaining over seat-sharing with the BJP,RLD chief Ajit Singh on Monday formally joined the NDA but did not announce the number of UP seats his party would contest in alliance with the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.
BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley,however,ruled out any dispute and said the number and identification of seats to be contested by the BJP and the RLD had been tactically withheld. Identification of seats and the number would be announced in a couple of days. We are watching the candidates fielded by the Opposition, he added.
Sources,however,said while the BJP had agreed to give seven seats to the RLD,the Jat leader wanted one more.
Welcoming Singh to the NDA,BJPs prime ministerial candidate L K Advani said the RLD leader would increase the alliance index of the NDA in the run up to the general elections. When the coalition era started in 1989,it was asked what was the index of opposition unity. Now,it has turned into alliance index. I am sure Ajit Singh would increase the alliance index of the NDA, Advani added.
The Jat leader is a significant catch for the BJP,as it strives to revive its political fortune in UP. Singhs party has a considerable support base in the Jat land of western UP,and the saffron party hopes to increase its tally in the state through the alliance. The RLD,too,is looking to gain through the tie-up. In the outgoing Lok Sabha,the BJP has seven seats while the RLD has just three.
Referring to the RLD base among farmers,NDA convener Sharad Yadav said Singh,who carries the legacy of Chaudhary Charan Singh,will strengthen the pro-farmer profile of the NDA.