The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), which is majorly backed by Jat voters in western UP, has declared its first list of eight candidates, including two from Ghaziabad district, Mathura and Baghpat. The move comes after the alliance with the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP) did not materialise.
The two candidates from Ghaziabad are Madan Bhaiya from Loni and sitting MLA Sudesh Sharma from Modi Nagar. Sharma filed his nomination on Friday afternoon even before the list was declared by RLD leadership.
“We will be going alone and without any alliance with the Congress or the SP. Phase-wise candidates will be declared for all seats in every district of western UP. In Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar, we will contest on all seats and candidates will be declared shortly,” said Trilok Tyagi, general secretary, RLD.
Madan Bhaiya, who holds sway in his constituency, is considered a muscle man. In an affidavit submitted in 2012, he has declared several criminal cases against him. He is also a former MLA from Khekra constituency in Baghpat. However, in 2012, he contested from Loni but lost to Bahujan Samaj Party candidate.
Sharma is a sitting MLA from Modi Nagar and is hopeful of maintaining his wining streak. He has been pitted against SP heavyweight Ram Kishor Agarwal, BJP’s Dr Manju Shivach and BSP’s sitting MLA (Murad Nagar) Wahab Chaudhary.
The RLD leaders said the other candidates for Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar will be finalised by Sunday. The decision will make it tough for candidates of other parties as votes will split between the BJP, SP and BSP as these parties have already declared their candidates. The Congress is yet to announce its candidates as it is still in the process of fine tuning its alliance with SP.
However, the RLD has lost a major vote share in its stronghold, western UP, since 2007. In the 2012 assembly elections, the RLD contested on 49 seats and managed to win in only nine. Twenty of its candidates lost their deposits.
The party had 2.33% share in valid votes polled in the state in 2012. In 2007, the RLD had fielded candidates in 254 seats. It won only 10 seats and candidates lost deposit in 222 seats. However, the share in valid polled votes was 3.7%, better than their performance in 2012.
“In 2007, we had 10 seats while BJP had only seven seats in western UP. In 2012, we had nine seats while BJP had 11 seats in the region. We are not lesser than BJP. The Muzaffarnagar riots in 2013 also turned the Lok Sabha election in 2014,” Tyagi said.
On Saturday evening, the RLD also came out with a second list of 35 more candidates, which included one from Ghaziabad and two from Gautam Budh Nagar.
In Ghaziabad, the party fielded Ajaypal Pramukh from Murad Nagar, while in Gautam Budh Nagar it named Ravinder Bhati and Kamal Sharma for Dadri and Jewar seats, respectively.