rld: RLD plans to extend base in west UP, eyes Dalit votes in Rajasthan


After marking its revival in the recently-concluded Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, the Jayant Chaudhary-led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) is actively working towards expanding its support base beyond Jats with an eye on broadening its base in western UP for future polls, as well as for the Rajasthan assembly election scheduled for next year.

The party is keenly eyeing Dalit support in western UP and Rajasthan and will focus on social justice as a key cornerstone through agitation for the same and will likely carry out organisational changes going ahead, said a leader close to Chaudhary. In western UP, it will also look at winning over some backward castes like Prajapatis and Sainis.

RLD chief Jayant Singh accompanied Azad Samaj Party chief Chandrashekhar Azad to Pali in Rajasthan on Sunday to meet the family of Jitendra Meghwal, a Dalit youth who was stabbed to death. They gave a memorandum to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot seeking financial aid, government jobs and a house for his family. They also sought cases related to atrocities against SCs to be fast tracked, to fill vacancies in bodies like the SC Commission at the earliest, among others. Earlier this month, Singh had met Azad and in a post on Twitter, described the discussions as “wide-ranging” from “youth empowerment to social justice”. Dalits constitute about 18% of Rajasthan’s population while Jats — the RLD’s traditional support base — form around 12% in the state.

In western UP, even though its performance was not too impressive (winning 8 out of 33 seats), the party which had secured no seats in the 2019 general elections and only one seat in the 2017 assembly election, has received a fresh lease of life this time. This comes against the backdrop of BSP’s drastically reduced strength in the state. Forming about 2% of UP’s population, Jats are concentrated in west UP across 26 districts where their share is as high as 15-20% of the population. However, the current UP polls showed that majority of the Jats are with the BJP, necessitating RLD’s expanse here. On the other hand, Dalits outnumber Jats in the region by about five times.



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