Its all but over for UP 'gathbandhan': Is it heading for a three-way split
Lucknow, June 04: The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), the third alliance partner of the 'gathbandhan' which was forged before Lok Sabha elections to stop the BJP juggernaut from sweeping Uttar Pradesh, has now announced that the party will contest the UP assembly bypolls on its own.
This comes a day after both the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) announced that they would fight by-elections to 11 assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh alone. A total of 11 assembly bypolls are due in UP after MLAs won the Lok Sabha polls and would soon vacate seats.
It looks like mahagathbandhan of Uttar Pradesh is a history now as Mayawati pulled the curtains on the grand alliance with the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal on Tuesday.
Rashtriya Lok Dal UP president Masood Ahmad, however, expressed hope that the 'gathbandhan' remains intact.
"The Rashtriya Lok Dal will contest the UP assembly bypolls on its own whenever they are held. However, it is too early to comment on the political scene of the state," he told PTI.
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, which sends the highest number of 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha, 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 bypolls 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.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati on Tuesday said that her party would fight by-elections to 11 assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh alone. She, however, said that alliance with SP is intact for now. Mayawati minced no words and that the Samajwadi party (SP) was unable to hold on to even its core voter base. SP's base vote - the Yadav community- did not support the party in the Lok Sabha polls. She added that the alliance clearly did not benefit the BSP.
BSP supremo said political compulsions have forced her to go solo in the assembly by-elections.
In a veiled manner, Mayawati had said the SP must get its act together, failing which the alliance may end. "It's not a permanent break. If we feel in future that SP Chief succeeds in his political work, we will again work together. But if he doesn't succeed, it will be good for us to work separately. So we have decided to fight the by-elections alone," Mayawati was quoted as saying.
The Bahujan Samaj Party had joined hands with Akhilesh Yadav's party to fight the recently-concluded Lok Sabha election to stop the BJP but failed to make any mark.
The BSP had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections on 38 seats of Uttar Pradesh in a pre-poll alliance with the Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal. The Samajwadi Party contested on 37 seats while RLD contested on three seats; two seats of Amethi and Raebareli were left for Congress.
BJP won 62 of 80 parliamentary seats in Lok Sabha elections, nine seats less than 2014, and its Apna Dal ally won two seats. The SP-BSP alliance's tally settled at 15. The vote share of both parties (combined) dropped from 42.2 per cent (2014) to 37.3 per cent. Both SP and BSP had expected that the vote shares put together will help them win big but they failed.