Following the success of the grand alliance in Bihar, the Janata Dal-United (JD(U)) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) are looking at merging their political forces ahead of the crucial assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh due next year. The move could considerably dent the prospects of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state.
Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) and Chaudhary Ajit Singh-led RLD have agreed ‘in principle’ to merge their parties and project Jayant Chaudhary – the RLD chief’s son – as the combine’s chief ministerial candidate.
“We are also in talks with smaller parties including the Apna Dal and the Peace Party in pursuance of plans to firm up a broader alliance,” Singh said.
“The Bihar model will be replicated in Uttar Pradesh. The Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) do not have the clout to take on the BJP. An alternative political vertical is emerging,” JD(U) spokesman KC Tyagi told Hindustan Times.
Mulayam Singh Yadav’s SP is likely to hurt the most, a scenario the JD(U) will relish considering the SP chief pulled out of Bihar’s grand alliance – which included the JD(U), Congress party and Rashtriya Janata Dal – at the last hour.
However, BSP chief Mayawati could retain her core support base. Speculations that BSP may align with the BJP post elections could further favour Mayawati.
Broad contours of the JD(U)-RLD merger were worked out at a meeting held on Wednesday at the New Delhi residence of Ajit Singh attended by JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and his political strategist Prashant Kishor with Jayant Chaudhary.
Claiming that the state’s electorate was “fed up with the politics of the SP and BSP, Singh said, “Both are interested in furthering personal and family rule. Farmers are facing a tough time, but none of the political leaders are bothered about the agrarian distress. The emerging alliance of the JD(U) and the RLD will fill this vacuum.”