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UP Assembly elections: BKU chief extends support to SP-RLD

Terming the polls a “testing time” for farmers, the BKU chief appealed to the people to support the alliance’s candidates in their respective constituencies.

Written by Amil Bhatnagar | New Delhi |
Updated: January 17, 2022 2:31:58 am
Naresh Tikait

Bhartiya Kisan Union president Naresh Tikait has extended his support to the SP-RLD alliance for the Uttar Pradesh elections.

Terming the polls a “testing time” for farmers, the BKU chief appealed to the people to support the alliance’s candidates in their respective constituencies.

In the Western UP region, Rashtriya Lok Dal will fight in 26 out of 36 seats in the first phase.

“This is a historic region. It is a matter of pride for us. I appeal to everyone to speak to their family members and others to show support for the alliance candidates. We must use all possible means, which is basically to request people to show support. This is a testing time for us and we must help the alliance,” said Tikait, while addressing farmers and local residents in Muzaffarnagar’s Sisauli town.

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Tikait, the son of Mahendra Singh Tikait and elder brother of Rakesh Tikait, is an influential Jat leader in Western UP. Following the withdrawal of farm protests at Delhi’s borders, the Tikait brothers have been meeting with residents of Muzaffarnagar and other parts of Western UP to muster support against the BJP.

In a show of strength during the Kisan Mahapanchayat in Muzaffarnagar last year, the BKU had stated that it would work to defeat BJP in the polls but would not contest elections.

RLD, too, had also held a series of mahapanchayats emphasising on the importance of farm unity against the ruling government.

With BKU now throwing its weight behind the alliance, RLD will look to capitalise on the farmer issues that have dominated the region’s narrative since the protests. Land-owning Jats make up between 12-17 per cent of the electorate in the region’s 18-odd districts.

The alliance has fielded Rajpal Baliyan from Budhana and Chandan Chauhan from Meerapur, both in Muzaffarnagar — the hometown of the Tikaits. The support also comes at a time Rakesh Tikait is looking to rekindle protests with a visit to Lakhimpur Kheri and a call for a “betrayal day” on January 31.

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