For the first time,Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi will share stage in UP on January 28. Having declared most of their candidates for the Assembly election in Uttar Pradesh,the two parties are busy planning their campaign.
While January 28 has been fixed as the date for the first joint public meeting,discussions over the venue are still on. The Congress is keen on Shamli area in Muzaffarnagar,but the RLD is more eager on Meerut from where it has fielded Haji Yakub Qureshi for Sardhana and the Congress has fielded his brother Yusuf Qureshi for Meerut. A decision is likely on Monday.
Sources said that the RLD wants to avoid Shamli because the seat was a matter of dispute between the two parties during the talks for a tie-up. Congress has fielded its sitting MLA Pankaj Mallik from Shamli,which is a new seat created in the delimitation. The RLD wanted this seat but the Congress refused to oblige,saying it had announced its candidate. Pankaj Mallik is MLA from Bhagra,which was abolished in the delimitation.
Meerut shall be the place for the first joint rally of Ajit Singh and Rahul Gandhi, said a senior RLD leader,adding,Both parties have good chances in that region.
A Congress leader,however,said that they had been asked to prepare for a joint rally by weekend with Muzaffarnagar and Meerut as options.
RLD chief Ajit Singh had joined UPA on December 12,2011,after which he was made Union Cabinet Minister for Civil Aviation. Out of seven seats in Meerut,Congress has fielded candidates for three seats whereas RLD has got four seats in its share.