The historical Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) alliance has left only two seats for other parties. This has put a question mark on the electoral future of the state’s next biggest regional contestant, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), leaving the party in want of further negotiations ahead of Lok Sabha elections.
Sources from RLD told News18, “The numbers are not final, we are still negotiating with the alliance leaders. Two seats are for 'others'. RLD is a partner, we fought with SP in Kairana. We will get more seats. Mayawati is unlikely to be flexible and give up any of her 38 seats, so we will reach out to Akhilesh. We may get more seats from SP's kitty.”
A day before the formal alliance announcement, RLD supremo Ajit Singh had told reporters in Mathura that he is likely to contest from his stronghold Baghpat and his son Jayant Chaudhary will once again contest from Mathura. BJP MP from Mathura, Hema Malini, had defeated Jayant from Mathura in 2014.
In the Kairana Lok Sabha bypoll in May last year, RLD candidate Tabassum Hasan - who was supported by both SP and BSP - defeated BJP's Mriganka Singh with a comfortable margin.
This is not the first time that Ajit Singh’s political journey is dependent on negotiations based on seat-sharing. In his career of 25 years, Singh has aligned himself with parties of different motives and backgrounds.
In 2002, Singh supported the Samajwadi Party headed by Mulayam Singh Yadav, the party then in power, but withdrew the support just before the Assembly elections in 2007 due to differences on policies for farmers.
In 2009, he again joined hands with the BJP-led NDA and was re-elected to the Lok Sabha from Baghpat. After two years, just before the UP Assembly elections, he came back to the Congress in December 2011 and became the civil aviation minister.
He had earlier supported the United Front government and contested election in 1998, which brought him his first defeat from Som Pal Shastri of the BJP. In the very next year, he formed a new party, Rashtriya Lok Dal, and won the election.
Singh also supported the Bahujan Samaj Party but withdrew his support in 2003, which ultimately caused the downfall of the Mayawati government.
It is highly likely that RLD candidate will fight elections under the SP banner, which will give RLD a significant backing in the historic alliance. As of now, the party’s electoral future is heavily dependent on negotiations with Akhilesh Yadav.