New Delhi: Facing a difficult Lok Sabha election, Congress today virtually left a major part of western Uttar Pradesh to allies by giving as many as eight seats to Ajit Singh’s RLD and three to Mahan Dal of Keshav Maurya.
AICC General Secretary Madhusudan Mistry also indicated that Apna Dal could be roped in to ensure an umbrella alliance of Jat-Kurmi and some non-Yadav OBC communities along with traditional support base of Congress.
The development occurred on a day when former SP General Secretary Amar Singh and expelled SP MP Jaya Prada, who were keen on joining Congress, were inducted into RLD.
Western UP has some 25 of the 80 constituencies in the state, which accounts for the largest number of seats in Lok Sabha. Congress’ hurry in sewing up the alliance with both parties comes amid reports that BJP was planning to have a tie-up with them.
Apna Dal is a Kurmi outfit, while Mahan Dal launched by horticulturist castes who go by the surnames of Shakyas, Mauryas and Kushwahas, has presence among ‘non-Yadav’ and ‘non-Lodh’ voters in the region.
Launched by late Sonelal Patel, Apna Dal was an effort to bring Kurmis, who account for approximately 4.5 per cent of UP’s population.
Congress had entered into an alliance with RLD before 2012 UP Assembly elections.
Etah, Nagina and Badaun, considered to be strongholds of Samajawadi Party have been left for Mahan Dal.
The eight seats given to RLD are Fatehpur Sikri, Kairana, Baghpat, Bulandshahr, Mathura, Hathras, Bijnore and Amroha. RLD has five MPs in the outgoing House including Ajit Singh from Baghpat and his son Jayant Chaudhary from Mathura.
The riots at Muzaffarnagar have changed the political equation in western UP, where Muslims and Jats traditionally voted together. BJP is banking heavily on Jat votes in the changed situation, which has made RLD fight with its back to the wall.