RLD says still with INDIA bloc, but wants ‘due respect’ from allies | India News – Times of India

RLD says still with INDIA bloc, but wants ‘due respect’ from allies | India News - Times of India



LUCKNOW: Amid growing suspense over reports of RLD-BJP tie-up talks for Lok Sabha elections, Jayant Chaudhary led Rashtriya Lok Dal on Thursday clarified it was “still” with the opposition bloc INDIA and there was no question of diverting from the stand “if given due respect” by the alliance partners.
“We are still with INDIA…That’s all we can say as of now,” RLD national general secretary (organisation) Trilok Tyagi told TOI, refusing to comment on reports of switching sides in favour of BJP-led NDA.
Sources said BJP has kept doors ajar while sending alliance feelers to RLD even as the Jat dominated outfit, which has a significant presence in west UP, grapples with concerns in the party vis-a-vis ally Samajwadi Party. Many RLD leaders feel that SP is making unilateral decisions on seat sharing and “imposing them” on allies.
“There needs to be mutual respect between the allies. We are here to abide by the alliance dharma without making unreasonable demands,” said a senior RLD functionary.
Sources said it all started on Jan 19 when SP chief Akhilesh Yadav posted a photograph of him shaking hands with Jayant Chaudhary on his social media handle and captioned it “Congratulations to everyone on the alliance of RLD and SP… everyone should unite for victory… everyone should unite.” Minutes later Jayant reposted it, affirming his party’s alliance with the SP which unilaterally announced seven seats for RLD.
Hectic political discussions ensued as SP pressed for fielding its candidates on RLD ticket on at least three seats — Kairana, Amroha and Muzaffarnagar. This left RLD with just four seats (Baghpat, Mathura, Meerut and Bijnor). Upset with the offer, Jayant purportedly argued that it would constrain him and his party workers who had been working hard for the past decade to resurrect the party. He insisted on being given two more seats on which SP may field its candidates on the RLD ticket.
Akhilesh, however, did not answer in the affirmative. Even as Jayant remained silent, BJP sensed an opportunity. Sources said a high-ranking BJP leader then reached out to Jayant and signalled a similar offer (of four Lok Sabha seats) from the saffron camp. Jayant turned back to his drawing board and convened a high-level meeting. Sources said RLD leadership deliberated on two questions: One, should it break alliance with SP for “satta sukh” (sake of power). Second, whether to continue alliance with SP while bolstering its position for 2027 UP assembly elections.
Sources said the RLD brass was in a fix while trying to balance opportunism and political integrity. Jayant, meanwhile, threw another dice by postponing the unveiling of a statue of his father and party founder Ajit Singh in Baghpat on Feb 11. The decision was seen as a prelude to RLD striking an alliance with the BJP and getting the statue unveiled by a senior BJP leader — perhaps PM Narendra Modi.
Political experts said RLD has been bargaining hard with the SP since the 2022 assembly elections when it won eight seats in west UP. The party also added Khatuali to its kitty by winning it in bypoll. At the same time, RLD stepped up efforts to consolidate its base among the Muslims, who have traditionally been voting for the SP.
All eyes are now on Rajya Sabha polls where 10 seats from UP are falling vacant on Apr 2. It will be followed by elections for the legislative council in which 13 seats will fall vacant. RLD may naturally search for greener pastures, experts said.





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