RLD national vice-president Jayant Chaudhary met SP chief Akhilesh Yadav today. (Photo: News Nation)
Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has agreed to give the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) four Lok Sabha seats against the six demanded by RLD national vice-president Jayant Chaudhary after a meeting on seat-sharing for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, on Wednesday, said sources. However, the final confirmation will only be made after discussing with Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati. "It was a good meeting with Akhileshji. I feel that we will be successful in our effort," Chaudhary, the son of RLD leader Ajit Singh, said. The RLD is likely to contest from Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar, Mathura and Hathras. However, the SP will field its own candidate under the RLD symbol in Mathura. The sources also said that Jayant Chaudhary might contest from Ajit Singh's traditional constituency of Baghpat and the RLD chief could contest from Muzaffarnagar.
This development hints at a possible alliance among the RLD, the SP and the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). The SP and the BSP had on January 12, announced their alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh. Both Akhilesh and Mayawati's parties decided on a 50-50 seat-sharing deal under which each party will contest 38 seats.
Both the parties have decided not to contest in Amethi and Rae Bareli, represented by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, respectively. However, the Congress has been kept out of the alliance. When asked, Mayawati said that the two seats have been left for the smaller parties. While Mayawati did not even name the RLD, Akhilesh Yadav did not give a direct reply on whether two seats had been left for the RLD.
Senior SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav, however, announced a day later in Firozabad that the alliance had left two seats for the RLD only. Initially insisting on half-a-dozen seats RLD chief Ajit Singh scaled down the demand to six seats, of which the Samajwadi Party chief agreed on four, albeit with conditions.