Ahead of Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's meet with Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Jayant Chaudhary at the airport in Lucknow has created a buzz. According to a report, the leaders then left for Delhi in a chartered aircraft of the Chhattisgarh government, a development that has set rumours in political circles.
After addressing the ‘Pratigya Rally' in Gorakhpur on Sunday, Priyanka Gandhi had reached Lucknow to take a flight to Delhi, and it was during the same time that Mr Chaudhary also reached the airport.
Commenting on the incident, a senior RLD leader told PTI on Monday, "Priyanka Gandhi and Jayant Chaudhary left for Delhi in the chartered aircraft of Chhattisgarh government on Sunday."
Notably, this comes a day after the Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav announced alliance with RLD for the assembly polls, however the number of seat sharing is yet to be decided.
Asked that the meeting is being perceived as arm-twisting tactics of the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) to exert pressure on the Samajwadi Party (SP) with regard to seat-sharing for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh polls, the RLD leader said, "No pressure has been exerted by anyone. This was an informal meeting (shishtaachaar bhet), and it was prevalent among leaders of earlier times. The BJP has changed this trend, and people have become enemies of each other in politics."
"Jayant told Priyanka that two people were accompanying him, and if all of them could be accommodated. On this, the Congress leader, after speaking to the aircraft crew, got the ticket of Trilok Tyagi (one of those accompanying Jayant) cancelled, and the three RLD leaders boarded the flight,” he added.
When contacted, RLD's UP chief Masood Ahmad told PTI, "Jayant Chaudhary on Sunday told reporters that RLD's electoral alliance was with the SP. This was already in place. There is ideological similarity between the SP and RLD. Seat sharing will be done soon, and talks are going on. I think both sides have sat together on this issue. We will contest the polls together."
Meanwhile, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav in an interview to PTI on Monday said, "Our alliance with the RLD is final, and seat-sharing is to be finalised."
The RLD enjoys support among farmers of western Uttar Pradesh and is on the same page with the SP on the issue of opposing the Centre's three farm laws.
In the 2017 UP assembly elections, the RLD fielded 277 candidates, of which it won only one seat.
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