Janata Dal (United) President Sharad Yadav’s announcement that the party will support Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) candidates in the bypolls for three assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh has signalled a move by old socialist leaders to regain lost ground in the state sans Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Why a grand alliance in UP?
After the overwhelming success in Bihar for the grand alliance, leaders like Sharad Yadav and Nitish Kumar are eyeing a national role by extending it to other states. The next stop is UP for obvious reasons: assembly polls are due in 2017 giving them sufficient time to work out adjustments and UP was a Janata Dal bastion in its heydays.
There is another reason for the proposed grand alliance: a chance to settle scores with Mulayam Singh and the Samajwadi Party. Sharad Yadav still remembers that Mulayam abandoned the grand alliance midway through the Bihar poll campaign and that when six parties had accepted him as the leader of the proposed Samajwadi Janata Dal, SP leader Ramgopal Yadav had termed it as ‘signing of death warrant’.
How can it work in UP?
Sticking to their anti-BJP model, the JDU has now added another angle to the grand alliance- be anti-SP. With this they are sure to attract several parties-including the Congress, Ajit Singh’s RLD and some smaller parties. Anti incumbency against the SP government may help them present a viable alternative. These parties may not have enough independent presence across UP but by forging an alliance, they will send out a message among those opposed to the BJP and the SP. Leaders from the Congress and the RLD understand that they have lost ground in UP and for them forging an alliance is the only option. These leaders will give anything to bring the BSP into their fold which will overnight boost their chances.
Where is Lalu Prasad Yadav?
Lalu is very much part of the grand alliance in Bihar and the socialist leaders count him on their side. However, the marriage of Mulayam’s grand nephew Tej Pratap Singh Yadav, MP from Mainpuri with Lalu’s daughter Rajyalakshmi has saved the day for the SP. JD (U) leaders do not shy away from attacking Mulayam and even question his secular credentials but Lalu is for now going soft. In politics the old adage is, kingship knows no kinship, and sooner or later Lalu will haves to take a stand and chose a side.