The Rashtriya Lok Dal announced on Wednesday that it will also contest the upcoming Assembly bye-elections to 11 seats in Uttar Pradesh alone, PTI reported. The Rashtriya Lok Dal was the third alliance partner in the “gathbandhan” for the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh. The two others – Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party – have already decided to contest the Assembly bye-elections alone.
Uttar Pradesh President of Rashtriya Lok Dal Masood Ahmad, however, expressed hope that the “gathbandhan” remains intact. “The Rashtriya Lok Dal will contest the UP assembly bye-polls on its own whenever they are held,” Ahmad told the news agency. Party chief Ajit Singh and his son Jayant Chaudhary will decide over the next few days on the number of seats that RLD will contest, he added.
On the new political scenario in Uttar Pradesh, which sends the highest number of MPs to the Lok Sabha, Ahmad said, “The RLD was with the Samajwadi Party. We got the seats from the quota of Akhilesh”.
“The profit and loss analysis will be done later,” Ahmad added. “Our wish is that the gathbandhan should increase its kunbaa [clan] so that we can emerge as a strong anti-BJP force”. He added that the Congress should also be part of the alliance.
The Assembly bye-elections will be significant for the party as it currently has no members in both the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly as well as the Lok Sabha.
RLD chief Ajit Singh lost to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s MP Sanjeev Baliyan in Muzaffarnagar Lok Sabha constituency, while his son Jayant Chaudhary lost to the BJP’s Satyapal Singh in Baghpat – both in close contests. The father and son had lost the elections from their respective seats in the 2014 General Elections as well.
In the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, the party’s performance was equally poor. The RLD contested 277 Assembly seats but 266 of its candidates lost their deposits. Only one candidate – Sahender Singh Ramala from Chhaprauli had won. Ramala left the party last year and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.
On Tuesday, Mayawati ended her party’s much-talked about alliance with Samajwadi Party but added that it was not a permanent one. “If we feel in future that SP chief succeeds in his political work, we’ll again work together,” she had said.
Yadav, in response, said the Samajwadi Party will also fight the bye-polls alone. “Even if our paths are different, we welcome it,” he had said.
The Bahujan Samaj Party, the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal had formed an alliance to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party out of power, and had fielded candidates in 78 seats, leaving Rae Bareli and Amethi to the Congress. However, the BJP won 62 out of 78 Lok Sabha constituencies it contested in the state. The alliance won only 15 seats and ten of them went to the BSP. The Congress was reduced to a single seat – Sonia Gandhi in Rae Bareli.