Cong-RLD alliance put to test

The sixth phase of the UP Assembly poll on Tuesday will put to test the electoral alliance between the Congress and the Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD).

With districts like Meerut, Baghpat, Mathura, Muzaffarnagar, Prabuddh Nagar, Panchsheel Nagar and Saharanpur where Singh commands a considerable following among the “Jat” community, going to the poll on Tuesday, experts believe the Congress stands a fair chance of redeeming its fortunes in the state, riding on the alliance.

Further, defection of influential Muslim leader at Saharanpur, Rashid Masood, from the Samajwadi Party to join the Congress has boosted the party’s poll prospects.

The sixth phase will also determine whether Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi’s overtures to win over the farmer community by taking up issues like land acquisition and alleged atrocities on farmers in Bhatta-Parsaul in Greater Noida and Tappal in Aligarh actually will succeed.

“The RLD and the Congress will stand to gain from the alliance...the BSP, SP and BJP will lose,” predicted the RLD chief of Meerut district unit Yashveer Singh. “Both are secular parties and they will get good support in the Muslim areas as well,” Singh added.

The last Assembly election had witnessed a dismal performance by the Congress in the western region of the state, with the party bagging only three seats. “The party is expecting a lot from this alliance,” said a state leader here.

“The Congress will certainly gain in the western region from the alliance. Our seats are poised to increase substantially,” said state Congress General Secretary and former MLA Rajendra Sharma.

However, leaders of RLD and Congress believed the alliance should have been announced earlier as the dilly-dallying had created confusion among the ground-level workers.

Countering speculations of a possible Congress-RLD triumph, BJP leader Luxmi Kant Bajpai said “the RLD had gained last time because of its alliance with the BJP.”
Meanwhile, the Mayawati-led BSP, which bagged 35 seats last time, is exploring every opportunity to repeat its feat this time as well, while the BJP is hopeful of increasing its tally of 11 seats in the last poll. “Division of the Muslim votes might benefit the BJP on some seats,” BJP leaders said.

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