Former Samajwadi Party leaders Amar Singh and Jaya Prada joined the Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) on Monday.
“Ajit Singh is my leader,” declared Amar Singh, a Rajya Sabha member, even as he indicated that he had approached Congress president Sonia Gandhi before his decision. He pointed out that the RLD was part of the Congress-led UPA. He also sought to dismiss his earlier bitter remarks against Sonia, saying, “I respect Sonia Gandhi”.
Justifying her decision to join the RLD, Jaya Prada, Lok Sabha member from Rampur, said she had followed her “mentor” Amar Singh.
Their announcement came hours before the Congress announced an alliance with the RLD and Mahan Dal in Uttar Pradesh. Acording to the seat-sharing pact, RLD will contest eight Lok Sabha seats while the Keshav Maurya-led Mahan Dal has got three seats in western Uttar Pradesh.
The RLD had won five of the seven seats it contested in alliance with the BJP during the last elections. This time it has got Amroha, Baghpat, Bijnore, Hathras, Mathura, Bulandhshahar, Kairana and Fatehpur Sikri.
Dismissing speculation on whether his party would join the NDA after the polls, Ajit Singh said, “We are with the UPA”.
Party sources said Amar Singh and Jaya Prada may contest the Lok Sabha elections.
Ajit Singh is learnt to have called a meeting of the party’s Bijnore district office-bearers on Tuesday to explore the possibility of fielding Jaya Prada from that constituency. Amar Singh himself may contest from Fatehpur Sikri constituency.