FORMER PRIME Minister VP Singh's Jan Morcha Alliance has given the Rashtriya Lok Dal much to worry about. For starters, it plans to make a dent in the Rashtriya Lok Dal's Jat-Muslim base in western UP.
In this connection, the morcha has planned a six-day yatra from Meerut to Bulandshahr from June 24 to 29.
It is learnt that “cartoon-bounty-fame” Minister for Haj and Minorities Welfare Haji Yaqoob Qureshi, who has mobilised the Muslim community in western UP, has extended his support to the JMA in its endeavour to uproot the RLD. The JMA will organise 40 public meetings during the yatra.
While VP Singh will address Meerut and Khatauli (Bulandshahr) rallies, JMA convenor and suspended Samajwadi Party MP Raj Babbar will lead the rally.
After getting support from the Bharatiya Kisan Union's Mahendra Singh Tikait, the JMA has now established contact with a dissident group in the RLD. A large number of RLD leaders have been feeling suffocated in the party because of the alleged overbearing attitude of RLD MP Anuradha Chaudhury. Thus, the possibility of disenchanted Jat leaders joining VP Singh's bandwagon cannot be ruled out.
Initially, VP Singh, with the hope of weaning away RLD chief Chaudhary Ajit Singh from Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav's camp, shared the dais with him in a large number of Kisan rallies in eastern UP and Bundelkhand.
But, when Ajit Singh refused to join the JMA, VP Singh decided to make an onslaught on the RLD bastion in western UP. The JMA has contacted Muslim leaders close to Delhi Jama Masjid Imam Ahmad Bukhari in west UP to widen its support base among the community.
“We will be largely concentrating on west UP,” said former Union minister CM Ibrahim, who is a close associate of Bukhari, during his recent visit to Lucknow.
Ibrahim supports VP Singh.
Singh has also invited Qureshi to formally join the JMA. The RLD always thrived on the Jat-Muslim combination in the past. But Qureshi's recent Muslim mobilisation has adversely affected the RLD's equations, which plans to contest the next assembly election in alliance with the SP.