Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav have squeezed a hard bargain for smaller parties like Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) by leaving two seats for the Jat dominated political outfit.
As per the seat sharing formula worked out between the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, both will contest 38 seats each. The SP will accommodate Peace Party and Nishad Party in its quota and candidates of both the parties will contest the election on the bicycle symbol of the Samajwadi Party.
According to sources in the RLD, “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.”
An RLD leader said, “Rashtriya Lok Dal is very much a part of the SP-BSP alliance.”
“We have not lost hope. The RLD is still in the alliance... vice-president of the party, Jayant Chaudhary, has talked to (SP chief) Akhilesh Yadav and demanded six seats... Chaudhary will talk to the leaders (of the tie-up)... we will get our rightful share,” he said.
On Friday, RLD chief Ajit Singh had said in Mathura that he was likely to contest from his stronghold Baghpat and his son Jayant Chaudhary would once again contest from Mathura.
Bharatiya Janata Party Member of Parliament from Mathura, Hema Malini, had defeated Jayant in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
In the Kairana Lok Sabha bypoll in May last year, RLD candidate Tabassum Hasan, who was supported by both SP and BSP, had defeated BJP’s Mrigangka 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 25-year-long political careers, Ajit Singh has aligned with parties of different ideologies and backgrounds.
In 2002, Singh had supported the Samajwadi Party headed by Mulayam Singh Yadav, the party then in power in UP, 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 National Democratic Alliance 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.
Ajit Singh had earlier supported the United Front government and had contested election in 1998, which brought him his first defeat at the hands of 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 BSP but withdrew his support in 2003, which ultimately led to the downfall of the Mayawati government.
It is likely that the 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.