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RLD, with a full platter, gets ready to join NDA

Lucknow, Feb 9 2024-

Four Lok Sabha seats, a berth in the union cabinet, two berths in the state cabinet and one seat in the UP legislative council – with this on its platter, the Rashtriya Lok Dal is all set to switch sides and join the BJP-led NDA.

A clear indication of RLD joining the NDA is that RLD MLAs will now join the BJP MLAs on their Ayodhya visit on Sunday.

A senior BJP leader said, “Our party is offering them Baghpat, Mathura, Hathras, and Amroha. The party leadership has refused to give them Muzaffarnagar and Kairana. We are even offering Bijnor and Saharanpur. The modalities are still being worked out.”

RLD leaders said there had been issues over the SP wanting its leaders to contest some of these seven seats on their symbol. Among these seats is Kairana, where the SP wanted to field Iqra Hasan, the sister of SP MLA Nahid Hasan.

“This policy of ‘our candidate, your symbol’ is not acceptable to us now. This is against the coalition dharma and amounts to back-seat driving,” said a senior RLD leader, admitting that this was a major factor in souring of relations between SP and RLD.

Meanwhile, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday, while speaking to reporters in Varanasi, did not provide a clear answer on the future of the SP-RLD partnership.

“The BJP knows how to break parties and when to take whom. The BJP also knows how to cheat. You have seen how cheating happened in the recent Chandigarh mayoral elections. The BJP knows how to buy parties. It is not by coincidence that the BJP has become the biggest party. They know where to send ED, CBI, and the IT department,” he said.

Akhilesh also appeared to dissuade the RLD from joining the NDA. “Jayant Chaudhary is an educated person and he understands politics well. I am hopeful that he will not let the fight for farmers and prosperity of UP be weakened,” he said.

If the RLD quits the INDIA alliance, it will further weaken the beleaguered alliance in UP an give a major boost to the BJP in western UP.

Seat sharing between SP and Congress, meanwhile, is still in the realms of uncertainty.

Sources in the BJP also confirmed progress in the talks between the two parties. (Agency)

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