RLD wants five seats, but is likely to get three. ‘Ignored ‘Congress warns that leaving it out in UP could be dangerous for the alliance.
New Delhi: The Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which are set to formally announce their alliance in Uttar Pradesh for the coming Lok Sabha elections, have kept the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), another potential ally, on the tenterhooks over seat-sharing.
RLD chief Ajit Singh told ThePrint Friday that though his party will be part of the alliance, no decision has been taken as yet on sharing of seats.
“My son and RLD vice-president Jayant Chaudhary had met SP chief Akhilesh Yadav on 9 January. We will also meet BSP supremo Mayawati shortly,” he said. “But so far, no decision has been taken on how many seats the RLD will get in the alliance.”
In 2014, the BJP and its ally Apna Dal won 73 of the 80 seats. While the SP won five, the Congress managed just two.
RLD wants 5 seats, could get 3
According to sources, Jayant Chaudhary, in his meeting with Akhilesh Yadav, had asked for five Lok Sabha seats in the state — Haathras, Kairana, Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar and Mathura.
Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati met last week to finalise the seat-sharing pact. Of the 80 seats in UP, both the SP and the BSP are likely to contest 37 seats each, SP sources indicated.
Of the remaining six seats, three are expected to go to the RLD, while the rest could be given to smaller regional parties that join the alliance.
The RLD, which won the Kairana Lok Sabha bypoll in May, has influence in some Jat pockets of western UP. Then, however, the RLD candidate had the backing of all three opposition parties in the state — the SP, BSP and the Congress.
Question mark over Congress
Although initially there had been speculation that the Congress will be part of the alliance, there has been no word from either the SP or the BSP on whether they will ally with the national party in UP.
Both the SP and BSP, however, have decided not to field any candidate from Amethi and Rae Bareli, the Gandhi pocket boroughs. The two seats are represented by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, respectively.
The Congress has warned that excluding it will hurt the alliance. Addressing a press conference in Delhi Friday, senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that ignoring the party can be dangerous in UP.
“The object of all such parties, including SP and BSP, is to try and eliminate the kind of autocracy and misgovernance that prevails in the state and to remove such people from electoral map,” Singhvi said. “Everyone should try and maximise the efficiency of that outcome.”
Singhvi said that no one should underestimate the reach and presence of the Congress in a state like UP. “Congress is a strong, well-known, established party. To ignore us can be a dangerous thing,” he added.
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