RLD relies on the alliance led by SP for its relaunch

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The ongoing agricultural protest, of which the Jats are at the epicenter, had given the party hope of reviving its electoral fortunes.

New Delhi: Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), which was once a very influential political force in western Uttar Pradesh, is now trying to regain lost ground through an opposition alliance led by the Samajwadi party. The ongoing agricultural protests, in which the main voters of the RLD Jat are at the epicenter, had also given the party hope to put on a good show in the upcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh are crucial for both the ruling Bharatiya Janata (BJP) party and opposition parties like the SP, BSP and Congress. For the RLD, which is a small regional party of the UP, this election is a battle to do or die because the party has failed to perform well in the last three elections, the legislative elections of 2014, the elections. of the Assembly of 2017 and the legislative elections of 2019 election.
Many believe that the RLD is banking on the traditional Jat and Muslim alliance that once formed the successful political backbone of the late Choudhary Charan Singh. A few months before the Assembly elections in 2022, the RLD, in alliance with the SP, wants to blur the lines of fracture between the two communities with the help of “bhaichara zindabad sammelans”.
Over the past few months, the RLD had organized around 20 such sammelans in different parts of western Uttar Pradesh where SP workers and leaders were also present. The goal of the RLD-SP is to gain the support of the Jats and Muslims who were their traditional support base. However, political scientists and pundits believe that the Jat and Muslim factor alone would not be enough for the SP-RLD alliance to numerically beat the BJP in western Uttar Pradesh which had some 130 constituencies in the assembly.
Ajit Kumar Jha, a senior political analyst who had covered Uttar Pradesh extensively, said: Delhi. The common slogans of Har-Har-Mahadev and Allahu-Akbar also point to a new emerging secular alliance of the Jats with Muslims. It will also be a challenge for the BJP in the 2022 assembly polls. Since RLD and SP support the farmers’ protests and form an alliance, it is likely to help them. However, it is not yet clear whether this emerging new alliance will be a game-changer. Reason: Election evidence from the last three elections in Uttar Pradesh (Lok Sabha Assembly polls 2014, 2019 and 2017) shows that the BJP has a huge advantage. In other words, there is an electoral realignment (defined as a measurable and lasting change in voter preferences) in favor of the BJP. Can the RLD-SP alliance call into question such a saffron realignment? Unlikely. Not unless BSP joins the SP-RLD alliance.
In the 2017 UP Assembly polls, the SP won 47 out of 298 seats it contested in alliance with Congress and lost 177 seats from its 2012 figures of 224 seats. The RLD led by Jayant Choudhary won only one seat, eight short of its results in the 2012 legislative elections.
Rajan Pandey, a political observer who focuses on Uttar Pradesh, said: “The challenge is difficult for the BJP in western UP with the SP-RLD rapprochement, but only the RLD-SP alliance does not. cannot win the state for the opposition. More unity is needed. The RLD-SP alliance alone will be insufficient to counter BJP. They had to bring in the Indian National Congress (INC) which is a major force with at least 30 seats, the Azad Samaj party led by Chandrashekhar Ravan and others. If that happens, the alliance would stand a chance in the state. Even within the SP-RLD there are loopholes in the sharing of seats, the RLD wants to challenge 70 seats, while the SP is ready to give them around 30 seats.
SP leader Akhilesh Yadav has always had a soft spot for the RLD, in parliamentary polls of 2019, when the SP-BSP opted for an alliance, Akhilesh Yadav convinced the BSP to give three seats (Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat and Mathura) to the RLD to compete. Since then, the SP had kept the RLD on board in its Uttar Pradesh mission. The BJP called the proposed alliance a reunification of two failed princes. Dinesh Dubey, a senior Lucknow-based BJP official, said: “The theory of a particular caste group angry with the BJP is a joke, which you would see in the results of the 2022 Assembly election in our State. What happened in the 2020 Assembly polls when the SP-RLD united, they lost. Voters can no longer be fooled by the RLD and the SP. The situation of farmers deteriorated under the SP regime. People have understood this; in 2022, no electoral combination will work for the RLD.


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