Lucknow: The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) on Tuesday officially joined Samajwadi Party (SP)-Bahujan Samaj Party (SP-BSP) alliance in Uttar Pradesh.
It will contest three Lok Sabha seats in the state.
RLD’s Jayant Chaudhary formally announced to join SP-BSP alliance at a press conference here in the presence of former Chief Minister and SP president Akhilesh Yadav.
RLD, which has a considerable support base in western Uttar Pradesh, is likely to contest Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar, and Mathura Lok Sabha seats.
“RLD is joining the BSP-SP alliance in Uttar Pradesh. Our workers will work hard to ensure the victory of the alliance on all seats in the state. We will contest three seats in Uttar Pradesh,” he said.
In all, 80 Lok Sabha seats are at stake in Uttar Pradesh. SP-BSP alliance has left two seats—Rae Bareli and Amethi—for the Congress which are presently represented by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi respectively.
As per the arrangement announced earlier, SP-BSP will contest 38 seats, while SP will try its luck on 37 seats. With three seats going to the RLD and two left for the Congress, the overall seat arrangement gets sealed in Uttar Pradesh as things stand today for the secular forces.
In reply to a question, Yadav said: “Congress is with us. It is a part of our alliance. Why do the media repeatedly ask if Congress will come with us or not? I have said in the past too that the Congress is a part of the grand alliance. It will contest two seats in alliance with us.”
However, Congress president Rahul Gandhi has already said that his party will fight the elections on all seats in the state with ‘full capacity’ and will stick to its ideology.
Rahul, while addressing a press conference in Dubai in January, had said that he has “tremendous respect” for the leaders of the two parties and “they have the right to do what they want to do.”
“SP-BSP and SP have every right to have an alliance. I think the Congress party has a tremendous amount to offer to the people of Uttar Pradesh. So, we will do our best as the Congress party and we will fight with full capacity to spread our ideology,” Rahul said.
"SP-BSP and SP have made a political decision. It is on us on how to strengthen the Congress party in Uttar Pradesh and we will fight with our full capacity,” he had said.
In a bid to galvanise the cadre and brighten the party's electoral prospects in India’s largest state, Rahul recently appointed Sonia Gandhi as a general secretary. She will look after the party affairs in eastern Uttar Pradesh, while Jyotiraditya Scindia will take care of party affairs in western UP as a general secretary.
In 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party in UP by winning 21 seats. However, in 2014 the Congress’ tally reduced to two, while the SP-BSP could not even win a single seat.