UP by-polls: After SP-BSP breakup, third alliance partner Rashtriya Lok Dal also announces to go solo

Lucknow: A day after the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party decided to contest alone all the 11 seats in the upcoming assembly by-polls, their third alliance partner in the recent Lok Sabha elections — Rashtriya Lok Dal — on Wednesday announced that it too will go solo.

RLD’s UP president Masood Ahmad, however, expressed hope that the ‘gathbandhan’ remains intact.

“The Rashtriya Lok Dal will contest the UP assembly by-polls on its own whenever they are held. However, it is too early to comment on the political scene of the state,” he said.

Party chief Chaudhary Ajit Singh and Jayant Chaudhary will decide on the number of seats the party will contest and the matter may be discussed during a meeting in the next few days, Ahmad said.

When asked about the RLD’s role in the new political landscape of the state, Ahmad said, “The RLD was with the Samajwadi Party. We got the seats from the quota of Akhilesh.”

The UP RLD chief said the Congress should also be a part of the ‘gathbandhan’.

When asked who will gain from the recent spate of political developments, Ahmad said, “The profit and loss analysis will be done later. Our wish is that the gathbandhan should increase its ‘kunbaa’ (clan), so that we can emerge as a strong anti-BJP force.”

The UP assembly by-polls will be important for the RLD as it has no representation in the UP legislative assembly.

In the just concluded Lok Sabha elections, the RLD had contested from three constituencies, but faced defeat on all.

RLD candidates Ajit Singh and his son Jayant Chaudhary lost from Muzaffarnagar and Baghpat Lok Sabha seats respectively, while Kunwar Narendra Singh lost from Mathura.

The party’s performance was equally dismal in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. The RLD contested 277 assembly seats but 266 of its candidates lost their deposits. Only one candidate — Sahender Singh Ramala from Chhaprauli assembly constituency — emerged victorious.

But he, too, left the RLD and joined the BJP in April last year.

In the UP legislative council, there are no RLD members, as the term of party MLC Chaudhary Mushtaq ended in May last year.