Lucknow, Dec 6 (IANS) Fuelling speculation about the possibility of Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) joining the BJP-led NDA, party’s national vice-president Shahid Siddiqui said that a high-level meeting of the party is expected to be convened soon to decide the “future course of action” which may also discuss whether to stay in the INDIA alliance or chart a different course.
The development comes in the wake of poor performance of the opposition in the five-state Assembly polls.
“Congress has grossly failed to show its political muscles in the Assembly polls in the three states. The grand old party, in fact, seemed to have impeded the traction the opposition bloc had attained. All these factors need to be taken into account before making the next move,” Siddiqui told reporters.
Sources said that RLD chief Jayant Chaudhary like SP President Akhilesh Yadav may skip the INDIA bloc meetings in the coming weeks.
This could further widen the cracks in the INDIA bloc which the opposition has stitched to take on the BJP.
RLD, an ally of the Congress, was given just one seat (Bharatpur) in Rajasthan where its candidate and former minister in the Ashok Gehlot government, Subhash Garg won.
The party had sought at least six seats in Rajasthan’s Jat dominated regions but that was denied by the Congress.
A top RLD leader, however, affirmed that the party’s alliance with the Samajwadi Party in UP was “very much intact”.
Sources said RLD feels its bargaining power has improved, especially in west UP where it has been consistently trying to consolidate its position, not just among core Jat vote bank but also the Muslims who have a sizeable presence in the region. RLD sources said the party is trying to win back young Jat voters who drifted towards the BJP.
Political experts said the SP-RLD combine may seek to intensify efforts to arrest division of Muslim vote bank, amid deft political positioning by BSP president Mayawati, who has been flagging the minority card to dent SP’s electoral prospects.
The BJP has also been attempting to blunt the Muslim opposition towards it through various outreach campaigns.
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