While some political parties may be worried over the possibility of Narendra Modi playing a proactive role in UP, the country’s politically most important state, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) seems to be putting on a brave face, claiming that the Modi factor will only benefit the RLD-Congress alliance.
"There is no reason why we should be worried about the BJP appointing Narendra Modi chairman of its election campaign committee," RLD state president, Munna Singh Chauhan said.
The party says that the Modi factor did not help the BJP in 2009 when the Gujarat chief minister addressed rallies in the state’s every nook and corner and Modi, they claim is unlikely to do any magic this time either.
"In 2009 we had an alliance with BJP in UP and the RLD won five out of seven Lok Sabha seats it contested in the state. We lost the Muzaffar Nagar seat and the bordering Nagina seats by around 20,000 votes each," said Chauhan, adding, "But it is significant to note that Muzaffar Nagar was the only constituency where the party committed the mistake of allowing Modi to address election rallies."
Agreeing to it, another senior RLD leader, Anil Chaudhary said the party lost the Nagina seat also because of Modi addressing the rally in the neighbouring Muzaffar Nagar constituency, displeasing minority voters.
"In fact, a possible polirisation of votes with the advent of Modi will only benefit the RLD-Congress alliance in UP," he said.
The RLD leaders claim that polirisation on communal lines because of Narendra Modi taking the centrestage will only damage the SP and the BSP and benefit the Congress-RLD alliance.
"In the event of polarisation, Muslims will go for the Congress which they might think would be in position to form the next government at the Centre with allies including the RLD and not for the SP and the BSP which are outside the UPA," explained another leader who did not wish to be identified.
"Otherwise also, ours is a committed vote bank of farmers comprising both Hindus and Muslims in western UP and they will always go with us polarisation or no polirisation," Chaudhary claimed.