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RLD out to chart its own course

AFTER ENJOYING power with the Samajwadi Party, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) has launched a drive to chalk out an independent course for State assembly elections.

india Updated: Apr 12, 2006 01:14 IST
M Hasan
M Hasan
None

AFTER ENJOYING power with the Samajwadi Party, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) has launched a drive to chalk out an independent course for State assembly elections.

Its ongoing kisan rallies, held in association with former Prime Minister VP Singh, are largely aimed at gaining a foothold outside the western region. The party is also trying to ward off the anti-incumbency factor, which could play spoilsport in the Jatland of western UP.

The RLD, which draws its strength from western UP, had won 15 seats from the region in the last State polls. But it fared badly in the 2004 Lok Sabha election, wining three seats. The SP, which had left ten seats for the RLD in Lok Sabha polls, repented after the results. Now, by exploring areas outside the western belt, the RLD is preparing the ground for staking claim to more seats, if it at all it decides to have a truck with the SP.

By riding piggyback of VP Singh, the party hopes to gain ground in eastern and central UP. But the Raja of Manda has his own plan of launching a “morcha” before the assembly election. It remains to be seen whether the RLD will be part of the morcha.

With Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav’s hostility to VP Singh known, RLD chief Ajit Singh will have to choose between the two. He cannot sail in both boats.

The RLD is also in a bind over the Harit Pradesh issue. After joining the coalition government, the party has virtually shelved the issue. It turned out to be a mere slogan for votes. While Yadav has repeatedly made it clear that he is opposed to further division of the State, the RLD, except occasionally raising the issue, hardly did anything to realise the dream of people of western UP. The party had won 15 seats in the last assembly election on the Harit Pradesh slogan.

However, after coming to power, the euphoria vanished. Resentment is also brewing among partymen over the prevailing situation in the organisation. MLAs from Agra division have already expressed their disenchantment with the leadership over their neglect.