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Kairana bypoll result today | A lot is at stake for RLD

Left with no representation in Lok Sabha and UP Assembly, Rashtriya Lok Dal badly needs a win to stay relevant in mainstream politics. The verdict will decide the future course of politics of RLD chief Chaudhary Ajit Singh and his son Jayant Chaudhary.

Swati Sharma | Meerut | Updated :

The Kairana bypoll result, which will be known on Thursday, is expected to determine the fate of Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and decide the future course of politics of its chief Chaudhary Ajit Singh and his son Jayant Chaudhary. Byelection to the Kairana Lok Sabha seat, necessitated after the death of sitting BJP MP Hukum Singh in February, was held on 28 May.

After facing rough times in the past few years, the RLD rank and files are hopeful of the revival of the party through the Kairana Lok Sabha byelection for which they have worked hard. If the party wins this byelection, it would surely give a boost to its leaders and workers who would get the required motivation ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Also, it will strengthen its alliance with the Samajwadi Party.

At present, RLD has no representation in the Lok Sabha as well as the Vidhan Sabha, where party’s only MLA from Chhaprauli parted ways with it. A victory in Kairana will spell a leap to the Lok Sabha for the party.

“We are confident of the victory of our candidate Tabassum Hasan in the Kairana byelection as people from all communities and religions have voted out and out facing challenges of weather and other obstacles such as EVM malfunctioning etc,” RLD state spokesperson Sunil Rohta said. Tabasum Hasan, the RLD candidate supported by SP, BSP and Congress, has given a tough time to BJP’s Mriganka Singh in this election.

In the Lok Sabha election of 2014, RLD could not win a single seat. Party chief Ajit Singh could not retain his traditional Baghpat seat from where he had been elected as an MP for as many as six times, and which is called the citadel of the party. Son and party vice-president Jayant too could not retain his Mathura seat. This came as a setback to the party.

Kairana bypoll result, RLD
Sahendra Ramala, the lone RLD leader to win the assembly elections in 2017, joined the BJP in April this year. (Photo: IANS)


But the worst was yet to come. In the assembly elections of 2017, the party managed to win only one seat — Chhaprauli, which is considered RLD’s conventional seat right from the days of former PM Ch Charan Singh, father of Ajit Singh. The lone winning candidate, Sahendra Ramala, too left the party to join the BJP, depriving the RLD of any representation in the state assembly.

RLD had a good base in the western UP. While the centre of its politics was farmers, its winning equation was the Jat-Muslim votebank.  But after the fierce communal riots of Muzzaffarnagar in 2013, the winning equation was disturbed in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as Jats distanced from the party. Now, the RLD is once again trying to revive its winning equation of Muslims, Jats and farmers.

Realising the resentment among the section that drifted away from RLD, Ajit Singh is working hard to woo them back. Ahead of the byelection, the father-son duo travelled the length and breadth of the Kairana Lok Sabha constituency and they are confident to have managed to break the ice.

“Jat community is now returning to RLD,” said Mainpal Singh, a resident of Malakpur village, aounding confident of the Kairana bypoll result. He added that there was some resentment earlier but now the perception was changing in favour of Singh.

Following in the footsteps of his late father, Ajit Singh has always tried to project himself as a well-wisher and leader of farmers. After leaving Congress, he had formed the Bhartiya Kisan Kamgaar Party and managed support of farmer leader Mahendra Singh Tikait. Singh has always raised the issues of farmers and is doing the same in western UP now.

During the yatra of Western UP that they undertook prior to the Kairana bypoll, Ajit Singh and Jayant appealed to farmers, Jats and Muslims to reunite and show their strength.

Also, in their bid to make a comeback, the RLD leadership managed to forge an alliance with the Samajwadi Party for the byelections to Kairana Lok Sabha seat and the Bijnore assembly seat. This strengthened the RLD and brightened its prospects.

A lot will depend on the Kairana bypoll result. If the RLD manages to win, it will keep the party in good stead ahead of the 2019 Parliament elections.