Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Hindu
The Hindu
Anuj Kumar

Denied ticket, U.P.’s ‘richest’ MP from BSP joins RLD

Miffed at being ignored by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Bijnor MP Malook Nagar joined the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) on Thursday. An influential Gurjar leader and businessman in western Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Nagar was the richest MP from the State in 2019. In 2020, his residence and the offices of his real estate and dairy businesses were raided by the Income Tax Department.

Last month, the RLD had joined the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Party chief Chaudhary Jayant Singh called Mr. Nagar, who headed the party’s youth wing till 2005, a grassroots leader and said his presence will help secure the interests of farmers and strengthen the NDA’s campaign in Western Uttar Pradesh.

Mr. Singh said that though Mr. Nagar could not be fielded from Bijnor, he has shown a big heart and has joined the RLD with his family.

Mr. Nagar’s entry is being seen as RLD’s continued attempt to forge a strong Jat-Gurjar alliance in western Uttar Pradesh since 2022. The party has fielded a Gurjar candidate, Chandan Chauhan, its sitting MLA from Meerapur, from Bijnor, and its Khatauli MLA Madan Bhaiyya also comes from the agrarian community.

Gurjars fall into the OBC category and play a decisive role in a dozen seats of western Uttar Pradesh where their number ranges from 20,000 to 70,000. The region has a considerable number of Muslim Gurjars and Mr. Nagar has strong ties with them.

As deputy leader of the BSP in the Lok Sabha, Mr. Nagar raised issues of farmers, Dalits and his community and actively participated in debates in the House and television studios. He had raised the demand for statehood for western Uttar Pradesh. He said he was disappointed that the BSP ignored his candidature for the Lok Sabha election.

“I served the party with full commitment for 18 years but when my name was missing from the list of star campaigners, I realised it was time to move on and save my political and social ground in the changing political climate.”

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Nagar said under the leadership of Mr. Singh, he will work for farmers and consolidate the Jat-Gurjar vote in the region for the NDA.

Responding to the fissures between the two agrarian communities that go back to the days of former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh and former UP Deputy Chief Minister Ran Chandra Vikal, Mr. Nagar said the Congress and the Samajwadi Party had always tried to pit the two communities against each other. On why the RLD fielded another Gurjar candidate from Bijnor when he was eager to shift, Mr. Nagar said this time he wanted to work in the background.

The BSP has fielded affluent Jat leader Bijendra Singh from the seat this time. BSP sources said Mr. Nagar was facing anti-incumbency. Tilak Chaudhary, coordinator of the Meerut zone of the party, said, “This is the reason that even the RLD had rules out his candidature. In the BSP, symbol is important, candidate is secondary. We believe in Behenji’s (Mayawati) discretion.”

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.