Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Jayant Chaudhary has finally confirmed his party has partnered with the BJP-led NDA for the Lok Sabha elections. This decision marks a huge setback for the INDIA bloc. The RLD’s exit follows closely on the heels of the JDU led by Nitish Kumar in Bihar, which also withdrew from the alliance last month.
Jayant Chaudhary, also a Rajya Sabha MP, told reporters, “We took this decision because of the situations, and our intent to do something good for our people.”
Chaudhary exited INDIA after the Centre announced Bharat Ratna for former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh last week. Chaudhary is the grandson of farmers’ champion Chaudhary Charan Singh. Heaping praise on the Centre, he termed it as a “rooted government”. He even remarked, “Dil Jeet Liya.”
In his first official acknowledgement of aligning with the BJP, RLD chief Jayant Chaudhary stated that the Bharat Ratna paved the way for his decision.
“After the Bharat Ratna honour, we are very happy. This award is not limited to my family or our party; it is an honour to all the farmers, the youth, and the poor in our country,” Chaudhary told reporters.
According to reports, Chaudhary’s party, which is Samajwadi Party’s ally in Uttar Pradesh, had made awarding a Bharat Ratna for Chaudhary Charan Singh a key condition for any agreement with the BJP.
While answering questions regarding some leaders in his party being unhappy, Chaudhary said that the decision was made after due consultation. “The reports about leaders being unhappy are untrue; I took this decision after speaking to all the MLAs and workers of my party. There was no big planning behind this decision; we wanted to do something good for the people,” Chaudhary told reporters.
Initially, the RLD and the Samajwadi Party had agreed upon a seven-seat arrangement for the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections. However, sources said that the BJP enticed the RLD with two Lok Sabha and one Rajya Sabha seats, alongside ministerial roles within Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s administration.
Despite the speculation, Samajwadi Party chief and former UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had said, “Jayant Chaudhary is an educated person and he understands politics really well. I am hopeful that he will not let the fight for farmers weaken…”
While there is no official announcement yet, Jayant Chaudhary’s party is likely to get the Baghpat and Bijnor seats, and his wife may be made a Rajya Sabha candidate.