Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal has been incorporated in the alliance between Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati in Uttar Pradesh for the general elections, due by May. The party will contest on three out of 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state, Mr Yadav announced today in a press conference.
In the presence of RLD leader Jayant Chaudhary, Mr Yadav said the party would contest in Mathura, Baghpat and Muzaffarnagar Lok Sabha seats in western Uttar Pradesh.
On the question whether the Congress will be included in the alliance, Mr Yadav said it was already a part of the Mahagathbandhan. "We have left two seats (Amethi and Rae Bareli) for the party," he said.
Talking about the upcoming elections, Mr Yadav said all the alliance partners will fight to save the Constitution.
"The Constitution has to be saved. And we will have to fight to save the rights the Constitution has given us," Mr Yadav said.
The Congress had been in talks with a number of regional parties, including the SP and the BSP, for a pan-India, anti-BJP alliance. However, when Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati announced their alliance, they chose to keep the Congress out. They had, however, said that the parties would not field their candidates in Amethi and Rae Bareli, which are the Congress strongholds.
The Congress had later announced they would contest in all 80 seats. The party also appointed Jyotiraditya Scindia and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as the state in-charge for the Lok Sabha polls.
Developments after the Pulwama terror attack, including India's air strikes in Pakistan's Balakot targeting a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror training camp, may have forced an opposition rethink on alliances to take on the ruling BJP as a strong bloc in the national election due by May.
Sources said two key opposition players, Nationalist Congress party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, had urged Congress president Rahul Gandhi to revisit alliances in West Bengal and Delhi with Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress and Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
The Congress, however, has declined to form an alliance in Delhi.
With inputs from PTI