UP elections: No Mahaghatbandan, as SP-RLD talks fail

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Lucknow, Jan 20: There has been a collapse in talks between the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. This almost draws the curtains on the possibility of a Mahaghatbandan or Grand Alliance in UP comprising the Samajwadi Party, the Congress and the RLD.

[Also Read: 290 seats non-negotiable, rest is your call: SP tells Congress]

This would also mean that the Janata Dal (U) will not campaign for the SP. The party's spokesperson, KC Tyagi informed that it would campaign for the RLD instead. The RLD is said to have demanded no less than 30 seats, but the SP was ready to part with only 22.

Ajit Singh

However, sources indicate that Akhilesh Yadav has trust issues with RLD chief, Ajit SIngh. In case of a fractured mandate, Singh may not back the SP, but go with the BJP, he feels.

Weak alliance?
The breakdown of talks with the RLD is likely to hurt the SP-Congress alliance. The impact will particularly be felt in Western UP. The RLD is a Jat centric party and this accounts for 17 per cent of the votes in Western UP. The Jats in Western UP have been moving away from the BJP.

Had there been an alliance, it could have hurt the BJP. The Jat votes which are likely to go to the RLD will be a crucial factor in case of a fractured mandate. Singh is known for his inconsistent politics. He has over the years changed too many partners and hence it would be interesting to see if he is entirely backed by the Jat community.

On the other hand, the SP-Congress felt that an alliance with the RLD would anger the Muslim voters in the UP assembly elections 2017. The Muzzafarnagar riots were between the Jats and Muslims and this has led to an irreparable divide.

The SP felt that it was more important to keep their Muslim vote bank intact rather than ally with the RLD and anger the community.

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