Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh will be the new civil aviation minister by the UPA, as a part of the deal struck between the Congress and RLD for upcoming state election in Uttar Pradesh.
RLD chief pledged support of his party's five Lok Sabha members to the ruling UPA at a meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Saturday.
The deal was hammered out at Singh's meeting with Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Friday.
Following hectic parleys, both parties agreed to firm up the alliance after the RLD chief gave up his insistence on cabinet berth for himself, while also conceding the claims of the Congress to a few seats in western UP.
The poll pact will help bolster party Rahul's campaign against land acquisition at Bhatta Parsaul in western Uttar Pradesh, Congress circles feel.
Following the poll pact with the RLD, the Congress is now pitching itself for the role of a "king-maker" in the run-up to the crucial Uttar Pradesh elections. In the event of a hung assembly, the party will have a critical role in the government formation.
And in case it extends support to either the BSP or the SP, the party, as quid pro quo, would seek reciprocal gesture at the Centre.
The RLD will contest around 60 seats while the Congress will contest the remainder of the 343 seats in the 403-member assembly.
with HT ipnuts