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RLD likely to join UPA

RASHTRIYA LOK Dal (RLD) president Chaudhury Ajit Singh is once again preparing to switch sides. After enjoying power for nearly three years in UP, he is gearing up to quit the company of Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav to join Congress-led UPA bandwagon at the Centre. Singh was a Cabinet minister in the NDA Government.

india Updated: Sep 01, 2006 11:34 IST
M Hasan

RASHTRIYA LOK Dal (RLD) president Chaudhury Ajit Singh is once again preparing to switch sides. After enjoying power for nearly three years in UP, he is gearing up to quit the company of Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav to join Congress-led UPA bandwagon at the Centre. Singh was a Cabinet minister in the NDA Government. Though Singh’s manoeuvering is unlikely to have any adverse impact on the continuity of Yadav Government, it would certainly have wider political ramifications. The situation is now in flux. The possible departure of Ajit Singh from the State Government would finally put an end to Yadav’s rainbow coalition.

It could also seal the fate of irrigation minister Dr Mairajuddin Ahmad, who is completing six months in the ministry without being member of either House, on September 4. While Singh’s men in the Yadav ministry have been waiting for the “quit signal”, the RLD has launched a massive drive to make a dent in the SP vote bank in eastern and central UP and Bundelkhand regions.

Ajit Singh himself is scheduled to address series of public meeting in September in these areas. The next Assembly election would be the first test for Ajit Singh to revive his father’s legacy outside western UP. But the prevailing anti-incumbency factor has dented the RLD support base. Singh wants to make up for the loss by winning some seats outside the Jatland.

Moreover, despite his past records of hobnobbing with the BJP, Singh has now been desperately trying to base among Muslims. To achieve that, a minority conference was held in Faizabad on Thursday. Pushing the recent past under the rug, the RLD has been reviving ‘secular’ image of Chaudhury Charan Singh to woo Muslims.

While in western UP the party thrived on the Jat-Muslim combination, in other parts of the State it has no vote bank. To form a base the RLD is trying to mobilise farmers.

Apart from refusing to attend the SP-sponsored function to celebrate Mulayam’s three years’ in power, Ajit Singh has also sharpened his attack on the Yadav Government. Singh accused the Chief Minister of not following the coalition dharma.