Whether Ajit Singh's RLD gets the fourth seat and whether that will be a seat of their choice is something the SP and BSP have not yet finalised. The negotiations took the unaccommodated Congress by surprise
New Delhi: A nationwide mahagathbandhan, a part of which could be the alliance between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) in Uttar Pradesh, is set to take shape with Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) about to enter the entente. Sources say Singh has asked for four specific seats but the SP-BSP alliance has left only two for the party believed to cater to the Jats of the state.
What RLD wants
The RLD wants four seats but this will mean both SP and BSP will have to let go of one seat each. While Akhilesh Yadav is okay with the idea, Mayawati is yet to give her consent to it. But after Jayant Singh, son of Ajit Singh and RLD's national vice-president, met the SP chief, it is more or less clear even the BSP is ready to release one seat from its kitty to accommodate the RLD.
Seats for RLD
MyNation has learnt that the RLD may fight from Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar, Mathura, and Kairana. So far, only one of these seats is confirmed: Baghpat from western Uttar Pradesh that was traditionally a Jat belt until 2014, due to its farmer base. But in the meeting with Yadav, Singh Jr asked for Mathura and Kairana specifically for the reason that they fall under this 'farmer belt' where his grandfather Chaudhary Charan Singh was once a popular politician. Muzaffarnagar, which witnessed a communal riot during the SP rule, is a constituency Mayawati's party wants to fight from, given the Muslim population there.
Recall that, before the video of a sadhvi calling for "pratishodh" by Hindus surfaced, Muzaffarnagar saw Muslim leaders of the SP and BSP inciting a crowd that had gathered for the Friday namaz.
Be that as it may, the RLD chief wants to fight from this very seat and make a political statement of Jat-Muslim unity reminiscent of Chaudhary Charan Singh's 'social engineering'.
Who will give in?
As of now, the RLD's entry in the opposition's alliance in Uttar Pradesh is almost certain; three seats have been confirmed to them orally. Whether they get the fourth seat or whether that will be a seat of their choice is yet to be finalised. What's surprising is that the final round of negotiations between the three parties, which was carefully kept under the wraps, took the Congress by surprise. Raj Babbar, who manages Congress's affairs in the state, had no inkling about the same. Meanwhile, leaders led by JP Nadda who are in charge of the BJP's election campaign are reaching Lucknow in the evening of Wednesday to chalk out a strategy to counter this 'mahagathbandhan'.
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Last Updated Jan 16, 2019, 4:54 PM IST