The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) formally joined the Samajwadi Party (SP)-Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) â€˜Mahagathbandhanâ€™ (grand alliance) on Tuesday to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA in Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha elections. The announcement was made at a joint press conference of SP president Akhilesh Yadav and RLD vice-president Jayant Chaudhary in Lucknow.
The RLD settled for three Lok Sabha seats -- Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar and Mathura -- in the SP-BSP alliance. According to sources, the RLD had sought four seats.
The BSP, led by Mayawati, is contesting on 38 seats and the SP on 37 seats, while five seats are left for other parties, including two- Amethi and Raebareli held by Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi -- for the Congress. While announcing the alliance last month, both parties had said they will contest 38 seats each. This put a question mark on the electoral future of the stateâ€™s next biggest regional contestant, the RLD.
Uttar Pradesh accounts for 80 Lok Sabha seats.
Jayant Chaudhary,RLD: Rashtriya Lok Dal will join the BSP-SP alliance in Uttar Pradesh. Our workers will work hard to ensure victory of the alliance on all seats of the state pic.twitter.com/wiwx2wEfJlâ€” ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) March 5, 2019
Congress president Rahul Gandhi has already said his party will fight the elections in the state alone with its â€œfull capacityâ€.
Addressing a press conference in Dubai, Gandhi has earlier said the leaders of the two parties â€œhave a right to do what they want to doâ€.
â€œBSP and SP have made a political decision. Itâ€™s on us on how to strengthen the Congress party in Uttar Pradesh and we will fight with our full capacity,â€ he said, reported PTI news agency
â€œCongress party has tremendous to offer to the people of Uttar Pradesh... I have tremendous respect for the leaders of BSP and SP, they have a right to do what they want to do,â€ he added.