The Rashtriya Lok Dal and Janata Dal (United) have made a late entry into the electoral battle in Uttar Pradesh and have announced that they will fight the upcoming Assembly elections together. This tie-up also gives hints of possible emergence of a larger alliance in the state where at the moment no party seems strong enough to win majority.
RLD holds a presence in western UP with a primary vote bank of the jats. It also has a history of working in alliances in the state. In 2002, RLD allied with BSP with two ministers in Mayawati’s cabinet but when the change of power took place mid term in 2003, RLD shifted to SP and till the end of the tenure in 2007, the party had six ministers in the cabinet. RLD also fought the Lok Sabha elections in 2004 in alliance with the SP.
The party fought Lok Sabha elections in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2009 and its five MPs were part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance. but in 2011 switched allegiance to Congress-led UPA.
So its record of sticking to an alliance is not good but it has managed to get into the power alliances in the state and at the Centre as well. It seems they are positioning themselves for a larger alliance as holding few seats in the Assembly will hardly matter in the 404-seat UP Assembly.
The Samajwadi Party had a fallout with the JDU and other Mahagathbandhan partners just before the Bihar elections and it seems that its entry into the state poll fray will reignite efforts to join hands with SP.
Nitish Kumar allied with Lalu Yadav’s RJD and Congress to stop the BJP from coming to power in Bihar. Though Nitish has recently praised the BJP’s demonetisation move, it seems outlandish that it will partner with the BJP. It will, however, want to increase its presence to newer pastures in the coming years to gain a larger presence in the political spectrum.
SP itself has lost a lot of ground due to the recent family feud in Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family. Joining hands with JDU and RLD will not impact their supremacy in the alliance. JDU and RLD may look for a stronger party like the SP to lead them into power as well. Congress, meanwhile, hasn’t denied any possibilities of alliances and have said they are weighing their options. The party is not strong enough in the state and if such an alliance comes into being, the party will want to leverage the strength of all three other parties to come in power like it did in Bihar.