BJP-RLD alliance in UP enters last stage

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Lucknow, Oct 23 (UNI) Bharatiya Janata Party is all set to formalise its alliance with Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) in Uttar Pradesh in the coming Lok Sabha polls.

While the final negotiations are still on, indications from the BJP sources suggest that an announcement to this effect is likely to come up in the presence of senior party leader Lal Krishna Advani at a rally in Delhi very soon.

Meanwhile, the state RLD president Ram Asrey Verma confirmed the alliance reports saying the final negotiations were being worked out. ''We are willing to go with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre,'' he told UNI.

In the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, the RLD had contested in alliance with Samajwadi Party on ten Lok Sabha seats--all in western Uttar Pradesh-- considered to be the stronghold of Ajit Singh's party. RLD had emerged victorious on three seats.

RLD, though, is pressing upon to expand the alliance to other parts of the state as well, this time with BJP. ''It is to be worked out as to how many seats would be contested under BJP-RLD alliance,''Mr Verma said adding ''it is not that the RLD is backed up with Jat votes only as the party enjoys overall support of farmers.'' As per the political observations, the alliance may or may not prove beneficial for BJP and RLD but it is bound to spoil the party of Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party and Mulayam Singh Yadav-led SP.

The number of seats under such alliance will remain a big question for BJP because a section of the party which includes the heavyweight Kalyan Singh is opposed to the deal. The sources within the RLD point out that the then ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh was instrumental in ensuring the defeat of RLD candidate in the favour of Kalyan Singh at Bulandshahar Lok Sabha seat.

UNI SB MB ARB SB HT1728

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