With the top leadership still maintaining silence on continuing with their alliance, both the Congress and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) have started preparations to contest byelection to the 12 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh, which fell vacant after MLAs on these seats got elected to the Lok Sabha. The ground level leaders of both the parties have been asked to prepare for all the seats and keep all options open till the last moment.
The Congress had contested recent Lok Sabha election in alliance with RLD. While Congress could win only two seats, RLD drew a blank with even its chief Ajit Singh and his son Jayant Chaudhary losing their seats.
Sources in RLD inform that both Ajit Singh and Jayant are not willing to test the ground and would rather leave it for others in the party to contest.
The Congress, which is facing a difficult time in motivating its workers and curb factionalism, has taken the bypolls seriously and will adopt a “dual check” mechanism.
Apart from forming team of state level observers, the party has asked its four AICC secretaries touring the state to visit each of these Assembly seats and hold separate meetings with the block level workers, motivate them and ask them about the best possible candidates. Both, PCC observers and AICC secretaries have been asked to prepare their own list of most suitable names and send it to the party high command.
AICC secretary Prakash Joshi has been given charge of Balha and Nighasan Assembly seats, while Zubair Khan is handling Sirathu, Hamirpur, Charkhari and Lucknow East. Similarly, Naseeb Singh has been asked to identify probable names for the five seats in western Uttar Pradesh — Kairana, Bijnore, Thakurdwara, Noida and Saharanpur. Responsibility of Rohaniya Assembly seat in Varanasi has been given to Rana Goswami.
A similar exercise has been started by RLD as well.
“The decision on seats (to contest) would be taken by party chief. As of now we have been asked to seek opinion and suggestions from all our 12 respective district units about how to contest the bypolls,” said Munna Singh Chauhan, state RLD president.
Chauhan said that it was unlikely that Ajit Singh or Jayant would contest the byelection.
While Congress has 28 MLAs at present, RLD has eight MLAs (all in western parts of the state ).