Hoping to return to power in Uttar Pradesh after the next assembly polls, the Samajwadi Party (SP) has sealed its alliance with the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) , which wields considerable influence over the 'Jat' voters in the western UP region.
According to the sources in the SP, RLD chief Jayant Chaudhary met SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow on Tuesday evening and the seat sharing between the two parties was finalised.
Sources said that RLD would be contesting 35 seats, all in the western UP districts, as part of the deal. ''Some SP candidates may contest on RLD ticket,'' said a senior SP leader here while speaking to DH.
The alliance, which had initially hit the roadblock after RLD insisted on contesting 45 seats, could change the electoral equations in the 'Jatland' posing problems for the BJP, which had swept the region in the 2017 assembly polls in the state.
RLD had fared miserably in the 2017 assembly polls in UP. It had contested 357 of the 403 seats in the state but could manage to win only one seat. The party candidates had lost their security deposits on all but three seats in the polls. RLD could secure only 1.80 per cent votes in the assembly elections.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls also the RLD had failed to win any seat in the state and its president Ajit Singh and his son Jayant Chaudhary had also lost from their bastions. The rout was attributed to cracks in the 'Jat-Muslim' vote bank of the party following the 2013 Muzaffarmagar communal riots in which 60 people were killed and thousands others displaced.
The farmers' .agitation, however, gave a new lease of life to the RLD. Jayant Chaudhary, the son of former union minister Ajit Singh, has been on the forefront in rallying the farmers of the region against the farm laws and had also attended the farmers' 'mahapanchayats' in different districts.
Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) president Rakesh Tikait had recently said that the 'Jats' had committed a blunder by shifting their allegiance from the RLD.
RLD leaders admitted that there was now a 'sympathy' for the party among the 'Jat community'. ''The farmers protest has come as a huge boost for us...we are now getting good support in the Jat dominated areas in western UP,'' said a senior RLD leader here while speaking to DH.
Political analysts also pointed out that RLD stood to gain the most from the farmers' agitation. ''The party can expect to get the support of its former voters now,'' said a Lucknow based analyst.
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