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Rashtriya Lok Dal Chief Shares Pic With Akhilesh Yadav, Alliance Sealed

A formal announcement of SP and RLD alliance might come by end of this month.

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A pre-poll alliance between the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and Samajwadi Party (SP) has been confirmed, RLD president Jayant Singh Chaudhary told NDTV today. After the two leaders met in Lucknow, Mr Chaudhary said a formal announcement will be made soon. Talks on seat-sharing are in the final stages with Akhilesh Yadav, he added. The RLD chief also strongly denied any arrangement with the BJP. “No question of going with BJP,” he said. 

Earlier in the evening, both the leaders had tweeted pictures with each other hinting that a formal announcement could be expected soon. Mr Chaudhary tweeted a picture of him along with Akhilesh Yadav with the words “Badhte Kadam (advancing steps)” while Mr Yadav shared a picture of them shaking hands with a short message, “With Shri Jayant Chaudhary, towards change.”

The RLD chief had earlier said that a decision could be expected by the end of this month. “By this month-end, we (RLD and Samajwadi Party) will take the decision and will come together,” RLD chief had recently told news agency ANI. 

The two parties have contested assembly and Lok Sabha bypolls together since 2017. An alliance between the two is aimed at consolidating Muslim and Jat votes in the crucial western UP seats. Relations between the two communities were strained after the communal violence in Muzaffarnagar in 2013, which experts say helped the BJP take a lead in the region. Home Minister Amit Shah will personally guide strategy at the grass-root level for the BJP in western UP.

In the 2017 Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party bagged 312 seats out of the 403-seat Uttar Pradesh Assembly while Samajwadi Party (SP) bagged 47 seats, Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) won 19 and Congress could manage to win only seven seats. The rest of the seats were bagged by other candidates.

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