Jayant Chaudhary's Rashtriya Lok Dal Formally Joins BJP-Led NDA Alliance

Jayant Chaudhary met BJP chief JP Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah.

New Delhi:

On a day that the BJP released its first list of 195 candidates for the Lok Sabha polls, the National Democratic Alliance led by the party also got a boost with Jayant Chaudhary’s Rashtriya Lok Dal formally joining the bloc. The Uttar Pradesh-based party was a part of the opposition INDIA alliance and had been indicating for some time now that the switch was likely to happen. 

Posting photos of Mr Chaudhary meeting him and Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP President JP Nadda said in Hindi on X, “I met RLD chief Jayant Chaudhary in the presence of Amit Shah. I heartily welcome his decision to join the NDA family. Under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi, you will make an important contribution to the journey towards a developed India and the development of Uttar Pradesh. Ab ki baar NDA 400 paar.” 

Rumours that an alliance between the BJP and the RLD was in the works had been doing the rounds for a while and had got credence when the Bharat Ratna was announced for Mr Chaudhary’s grandfather and former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh on February 9. The RLD chief had welcomed the honour, writing, “Dil jeet liya mera (They have won my heart).

When reporters had asked him if he was going to ally with the BJP, Mr Chaudhary had said, “Is there anything left? How can I refuse?”

Three days later, he had indicated that the deal with the BJP had been sealed and a formal announcement could be expected soon. On questions that people in his party were not happy with the decision, the RLD chief had said he had made it only after speaking to everyone and in the interest of the people of Uttar Pradesh. 

Poll Impact

The RLD is the second party to leave the INDIA bloc, after the Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal United. And while the party and its leader may not have the same profile as the JDU and Mr Kumar, its exit will be a setback for the opposition because it is a player in the all-important state of Uttar Pradesh.

Of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state, the BJP had won 62 in 2019 – which was nine lower than it had got in 2014 – but still managed to get to a tally of 303 nationally. This time around, the BJP is targeting winning 370 on its own and 400 for the NDA. The RLD, which enjoys support among the Jats, can play a role in getting it closer to that figure.

In its first list of 195 candidates issued on Saturday, the BJP has named 51 from Uttar Pradesh. It has been speculated that the RLD will contest two Lok Sabha seats and get two ministerial berths in the Yogi Adityanath cabinet. 


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