The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) is set to join the alliance forged by the SP and the BSP for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and is likely to contest three seats in Uttar Pradesh, according to sources in the SP and the RLD.
The RLD is likely to contest Baghpat and Muzaffarnagar and Mathura seats, said a top party leader. “For now, it has been decided that we are not making the number of seats public. The discussion will continue. We have talked to the SP about Mathura, Baghpat and Muzaffarnagar, as they used to be our seats. We are pretty much sure that they (SP and the BSP) won’t have any problem with that,” said the RLD leader. The RLD leader also said that there has been consensus over the RLD getting a fourth seat. This fourth seat, the RLD leader said, is likely to see an SP leader contest on an RLD ticket, in line with the Kairana Lok Sabha bypoll where SP leader Tabassum Hassan contested on an RLD ticket and defeated the BJP candidate.
RLD spokesperson Anil Dubey said the next round of talks between Akhilesh and the RLD leadership is expected to take place during the Mahagathbandhan Rally in Kolkata.
SP sources, however, said that apart from Baghpat and Muzaffarnagar, the SP can give the RLD one more seat from its quota. This third seat, the sources said, could be Mathura or Hathras or Kairana. The sources said that RLD wants to field its own candidate from Mathura, while Akhilesh wants it for one of his close confidants.
The decision on the alliance was taken after a meeting between SP president Akhilesh Yadav and RLD vice-president Jayant Chaudhary in Lucknow on Wednesday. After the meeting, Jayant had told media persons that the meeting was good.
A senior SP leader said that during the meeting, it was decided that RLD president Ajit Singh will contest from Muzaffarnagar this time, while Jayant will shift to his father’s traditional seat Baghpat. Both the seats have dominance of Jats and Muslims. Jayant had contested from Mathura in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, but lost to BJP candidate Hema Malini.
In a joint press meet last week, BSP chief Mayawati and SP president Akhilesh Yadav announced that both the parties will contest on 38 seats each, leaving Amethi and Rae Bareli for Congress and keeping two seats for other allies who could be included later. If the SP agrees to give RLD one more seat from its quota, it will be contesting on 37 seats. —
WITH ENS, DELHI