Debating India


UP : Rajnath, Sharad discuss seat sharing

Friday 22 December 2006, by KAUSHAL*Pradeep

NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 21: After having given each other cold shoulder vis-?-vis UP Assembly polls, the BJP and JD(U) have initiated talks to work out a seat adjustment.

Sources disclosed here today that BJP chief Rajnath Singh and JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav have had two rounds of talks, which are still inconclusive. A key role is being played by JD(U) secretary general K C Tyagi. The JD(U) and Apna Dal of Sone Lal Patel have already forged an alliance. With the BJP, it would be just a seat-sharing arrangement.

Since JD(U) is not known to have much of a presence in UP, the obvious question is why should the BJP suddenly warm up to its NDA partner in the state. The BJP apparently wants to consolidate the sizeable Kurmi vote.

The Apna Dal is a Kurmi party. The BJP first wooed Patel hoping he would content with a small share of seats. However, Patel rejected these overtures because he had no plan to desert JD(U), which boasts of the tallest Kurmi leader today, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. Given its own sizeable following in the community, the BJP, along with the two parties, can completely swing the Kurmi vote in its favour.

Now, the BJP leaders, particularly Rajnath, have taken a more pragmatic view though Kalyan Singh still has an inflated perception of the BJP poll prospects,” the sources said.

On the other hand, the JD(U) is left with no choice. It had dreamt of forging a front comprising Apna Dal, Jan Morcha of the V P Singh-Raj Babbar combine, RLD of Ajit Singh, National Loktantrik Party of Rasheed Masood and Bharatiya Samaj Party of Om Prakash Rajbhar. Sharad had met with V P Singh, Babbar and Rajbhar. He was also in touch with Ajit Singh.

But the plan fell through when V P Singh and Babbar invited RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav and LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan to the Lucknow rally. Not willing to share the stage with Lalu at any cost, the JD(U) and Patel stayed away from the meeting. Rajbhar has since moved closer to the Congress. He needs funds and the Congress needs votes. So, the two are expected to play complimentary roles.

See online : The Indian Express

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