The Janata Dal (United) is all set to contest Uttar Pradesh assembly elections alone and field candidates in areas where the party feels it was strong.
“We will contest the UP polls alone. It is our official stand,” JD(U)’s Bihar unit president Basishtha Narayan Singh said, ending speculations that the party could join the proposed Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance to forge a larger secular coalition, as formed in Bihar during 2015 assembly polls.
Basishtha Narayan Singh said recent rallies of Bihar chief minister and JD(U) national president Nitish Kumar had in UP districts bordering Bihar had drawn big crowd. Senior party leaders, including Rajya Sabha member RCP Singh, had been camping in UP to strengthen the organisational base in the poll-bound state, he said. “We have identified candidates with strong support in a large number of constituencies. We will decide on the seats to be contested soon,” he said.
Asked about the possibilities of division in secular votes with JD(U) going it alone, Basishtha Narayan Singh Singh was not forthcoming. “Every party has ambition to expand its base,” he said.
Sources in the JD(U) said the party brass was apparently peeved over not getting feelers from UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, Samajwadi Party (SP) patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav or the Congress to join the proposed alliance.
“We wanted to join the proposed alliance. But the SP and the Congress neither talked to us nor invited us to come on board. So, why should we go with them? This attitude will not help the proposed coalition defeat the BJP in UP,” said a senior JD(U) leader, not wishing to be named.
He said it was imperative on SP and other parties to stitch up a larger coalition by including JD(U), which “has emerged as a major stakeholder in UP in terms of support base.”
“If the Grand Alliance was formed in Bihar, it could have shaped up in UP as well. But it did not happen. They did not offer us any seats either,” said another senior JD U) leader.
JD(U)’s dropping out from the secular coalition is attributed to the regional party’s ambition to win seats by contesting big number of seats, instead of playing second fiddle in any alliance.