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The Hindu
The Hindu
National
Mayank Kumar _11754

BJP eyeing tie-ups with SBSP, RLD to put up strong show in Lok Sabha poll

Amid the buzz that the BJP is reaching out to the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), ruling party leaders in Uttar Pradesh said their inclusion will strengthen the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha poll, but the top leadership will take a call on allying with the parties.

“The SBSP or the RLD joining the NDA will be good for 2024. Any decision on alliances in U.P. is made by the central parliamentary board. As of now, we are not privy to deliberations on including these parties,” State BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said.

Despite winning the 2022 Assembly poll and securing 62 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha poll, the BJP is looking to forge ties with the SBSP and the RLD as they hold sway over key seats in eastern and western U.P., respectively.

In the Assembly election, the Samajwadi Party-SBSP alliance had dented the NDA’s prospects in at least 20 seats in eastern U.P. The BJP-led alliance lost all seven seats in Ghazipur and 10 seats in Azamgarh, and won only one out of four seats in Mau district.

Losing ground

The BJP has also been steadily losing ground in western U.P., where a Jat-Muslim alliance seems to be at work under the RLD. The BJP lost seven out of the 10 chairman seats in Muzaffarnagar in the urban local body polls and the RLD-SP alliance prevailed over the BJP in seven out of nine seats in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli in 2022 Assembly poll. The RLD also wrested the Khatauli Assembly seat from the BJP in a bypoll last year.

However, SBSP chief Om Prakash Rajbhar said his party is not inclined to join hands with the BJP. “As the SBSP is a force to reckon with in 31 Lok Sabha seats in eastern U.P., bigger parties want to ally with us. No deliberations are happening with the BJP as of now,” he said

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