RLD disbands state unit after poll debacle
Humiliating defeat in the state assembly election on Saturday forced the Rashtriya Lok Dal President Ram Asre Verma to dissolve the state executive and zonal committees. The party, which had fielded 254 candidates, could win only 10 seats.
Verma told newsmen in Lucknow on Saturday that new committees would be constituted in consultation with RLD chief Chaudhury Ajit Singh, who reviewed the party’s dismal performance in Lucknow on Friday. While winning ten seats, four short of 2002 tally, in western UP, the party could not open account outside so-called "Harit Pradesh".
However the RLD General Secretary Anil Dubey said that its candidates ended runner up in 14 places and there was one per cent jump from 2.48 per cent in 2002. He said Satyabir Tyagi had been appointed as west zone president in place of Satpal Singh.
The party, which thrived over the years because of its "Jat-Muslim" combination in western UP faced difficult situation because the BSP also fielded nearly a dozen Jat candidates and made dent into its Muslim vote bank. "Mayawati succeeded in weaning away RLD’s vote bank," remarked the teachers’ group leader in Vidhan Parishad Om Prakash Sharma.
He said the "RLD also suffered because of anti-incumbency". The party was in power for five years. First it joined hands with the BJP to become partner in Mayawati government in 2002 and later switched over to Mulayam Singh Yadav in 2003.
However expressing concern over rampant casteism Ram Asre Verma said "the RLD leaders would be meeting here on May 30 to review the poll debacle". He said action would also be taken against dissidents in the party. He said former general secretary Shushil Sharma had already been sacked for anti-party activities. Verma said the party would launch fresh move to widen its base in the state.
Dubey said the party had fielded 138 candidates outside western UP. The party had even given ticket Piyari Devi mother of dreaded dacoit Ambika Patel alias Thokia from Naraini (Banda).