In its first major political programme under the leadership of Jayant Chaudhary, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) will hold a series of ‘Bhaichara Sammelans in western Uttar Pradesh from Tuesday.
This is, apparently, a part of the RLD’s efforts to resurrect itself before the 2022 Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
According to party sources, the proposed two-month long programme will begin form Khatauli in Muzaffarnagar district.
“The objective of the programme is to amalgamate forward and backward caste groups, besides upholding the Hindu-Muslim unity which is urgently needed at this point of time,” said RLD National Secretary Anil Dubey.
He said that the idea was to blur the caste and religious lines and push for ‘issue-based’ politics in the state.
“We would be organising meetings to bring together different communities and raise issues that are common to all. There is a need to prevent vested interests from creating a communal divide for political gains,” he said.
He further said that “the role of civil society happens to be very important in quelling social tensions whenever they arise. They need to be nipped in the bud before any undesirable manifestation takes place”.
Two days ago, Samajwadi Party (SP) President Akhilesh Yadav had visited the residence of Jayant Chaudhary in Delhi to offer floral tributes to his father Chaudhary Ajit Singh, who succumbed to Covid-19 in May.
The two parties are already in alliance and their leaders are believed to have discussed strategies to counter the ruling BJP in the upcoming state Assembly elections.
The electoral fortunes of the RLD have been on a continuous decline after 2002 when it contested on 38 seats and managed to win 14 securing 26.82 per cent vote share on the seats it contested.
The emergence of BSP as a strong political force in the 2007 Assembly elections dented the RLD which could register a win on only 10 out of 254 seats it contested while securing 3.70 per cent vote share.
The resurgence of the SP in 2012 further hit RLD which had then allied with the Congress. It contested 46 seats and won only nine bagging a vote share of 2.33 per cent.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Chaudhary Ajit Singh and Jayant Chaudhary lost from their stronghold seats of Baghpat and Mathura, respectively.
The RLD eventually got completely routed in the 2017 Assembly elections as a BJP wave swept through the state. The party could win just one out of the 277 seats it contested.
Its lone MLA, Sahender Singh Ramala, from the Chhaprauli Assembly seat in Baghpat, too, switched over to BJP in 2018.
However, the RLD now sees hopes of revival with its active participation in the ongoing farmers’ agitation and its alliance with the SP which is positioned as the main challenger to the ruling BJP in Uttar Pradesh.