Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) general secretary Jayant Chaudhary’s career is a combination of circumstances and choice. The suave US-born and London School of Economics-educated son of party chief Ajit Singh has picked the rough and tumble of Uttar Pradesh politics as his vocation.
The decision has cost the former investment banker his favourite pastime — playing the guitar and singing. Spirited debates in Parliament and espousing the cause of farmers, like his father and grandfather, former prime minister Chaudhary Charan Singh, are the beats the 33-year-old Lok Sabha MP from Mathura marches to now. Chaudhary, who is married to Punjabi girl Charu Singh and believes “inter-caste marriages can harmonise the society”, speaks to HT on the dynamics in UP and other issues. Extracts:
Is there any seat-sharing trouble with Congress? The alliance is shaping up well. By and large, issues have been sorted out.
How many seats is RLD contesting? We are going to contest 50 seats. (The party had contested 252 seats in the 2007 polls without any alliance and won 10, all in its western UP stronghold.)
How many seats will the Congress-RLD combine win? (Laughs) On record, we are going to win all. Seriously, it’s too early to predict. What I can say with certainty is we are going to be major players in the post-poll scenario.
Is Anna Hazare or corruption an issue? If yes, then won’t it go against the Congress? Anna Hazare is not an issue, but corruption is. And this will go against the BSP.
Why not Congress? Because voters will evaluate the performance of the state government.
What about division of the state? RLD has been demanding creation of Harit Pradesh. Will it be a poll issue? Harit Pradesh is our long-pending demand.
Does caste figure in your poll agenda? Caste is not a part of our agenda. Governance will be the main election plank.
Politics has taken a toll on your favourite pastime…? I used to play the guitar and sing when I was younger, but do not have time for that now. I am a boring man and spend every free minute with my family and daughters (Sahira, 3, and Ilesha, 1).