BJP rules out electoral pact with RLD in UP

Amid speculations of RLD leader Ajit Singh negotiating with the BJP for a tie-up for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly poll, the saffron party has now specified that whereas the Jat leader was more than welcome to merge his party (RLD) with the BJP, an allaince with him for the 2017 Assembly elections was out of question, at least for now.“Ajit Singh is welcome to merge (RLD) with the BJP if he wants, but there is no question of any alliance with him in Uttar Pradesh,” BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said on the speculations that the saffron party was aiming for the Jat leader who was earlier believed to be looking at a merger with the Nitish Kumar-led anti-BJP front.Though the RLD does have hold over the dominant Jat community in western UP, BJP sources say Ajit Singh’s political relevance is “important, but not critical” for them. In fact, the BJP is believed to be working on a different tack to win the state crucial for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah’s future plans— and which is to keep Samajwadi Party and its top leader Mulayam Singh in “good humour”.Though it is all at the nascent stage, there is a buzz in political circles here that the BJP was trying to woo the SP with a promise of the top constitutional post of the country for Mulayam Singh in lieu of critical Yadav vote bank he holds.Also, while Jats are important for the BJP, given their influence on more than 130 Assembly seats, sources say the saffron party has its own leaders from the community to look after them—for instance Muzzafarnagar MP Sanjeev Balyan. Ajit Singh had failed to win even a single seat, including in his stronghold Baghpat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Given that a comeback in the 2017 Assembly elections is crucial for his political career and relevance, his need appears bigger than BJP’s.


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