Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Jayant Chaudhary on Wednesday rejected the Bharatiya Janata Party’s invitation to enter into an alliance with it.
In November, Chaudhary had confirmed an alliance with the Samajwadi Party chief for the Uttar Pradesh election, which is scheduled to begin from February 10.
The RLD chief remarked on Wednesday that the BJP should extend an invite to over 700 farmers’ families “whose homes you destroyed”, rather than to him. The statement appeared to refer to the deaths of the farmers during the year-long protest against the three agriculture-related laws.
Earlier in the day, BJP MP Parvesh Verma said that the party’s door was always open for Chaudhary, ANI reported. “We wanted to welcome Jayant Chaudhary in our home [BJP] but he has chosen the wrong path,” Verma said. “People of Jat community will speak to him.”
Union Home Minister Amit Shah had also said that the Jat leader had chosen the “wrong home”, PTI reported.
The BJP is attempting to secure the Jat community’s support in the backdrop of fears that the community may move away from it due to the farmers’ agitation in western Uttar Pradesh.
Farmers had been protesting against the Centre’s agricultural laws passed in September 2020. The central government had claimed that the new laws were aimed at making farming more profitable, but the farmers argued that they could have brought corporate dominance in the sector. The regulations were repealed in November 2019.
BJP MP from Muzaffarnagar Sanjeev Balyan, however, claimed that the Jats will remain aligned with the BJP, according to PTI. “This perception is created before the elections but in the elections, Jats always vote for the BJP,” he said. “They voted for BJP in 2014, 2017 and in 2019.”
Balyan asserted that the community will vote for the BJP in the 2022 election as well. “Nobody wants Akhilesh Yadav to become the chief minister in Uttar Pradesh,” he claimed.
The BJP’s outreach to Chaudhary comes amid reports of disagreements between the SP and RLD over seat-sharing for the election.
The Samajwadi Party has also confirmed an alliance with the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia), which is headed by his uncle Shivpal Yadav, for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.
In the past few months, Akhilesh Yadav has announced alliances with several other regional parties as well. These include the Om Prakash Rajbhar-led Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, the Jayant Singh Chaudhary-led Rashtriya Lok Dal, the Mahan Dal and the Janwadi Party (Socialist).
In the 2017 Uttar Pradesh elections, the BJP had emerged victorious by winning 312 seats. The Samajwadi Party had won 47 seats, while the Bahujan Samaj Party had won 19 seats in the 403-member Legislative Assembly.