Responding to the Bharatiya Janta Party’s renewed overtures towards the Rashtriya Lok Dal, the party leadership said it was a move to create a wedge between Jats and Muslims and that the move would backfire for the BJP.
Of the 403 seats in U.P., 136 are influenced by Jats and the renewed Jat-Muslim unity after the farmers’ agitation has forced the BJP to have a re-look at its strategy in west U.P. The RLD is contesting the polls in partnership with the Samajwadi Party.
‘Doors open, post polls’
On Tuesday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah met BJP’s Jat and khap leaders from Delhi and West U.P. After the meeting, BJP MP Parvesh Verma told an agency that Mr. Shah said the doors were open for the RLD, post polls. “For, now Jayant Singh has chosen a wrong party. People of the Jat community will speak to Jayant. BJP’s doors are always open for him,” Mr. Verma quoted Mr. Shah.
Union Minister and Muzaffarnagar MP Sanjeev Balyan told reporters that the Jats had not forgotten Muzaffarnagar and West U.P. didn’t want to see Akhilesh Yadav as Chief Minister.
Responding to the news, Mr. Singh tweeted he didn’t want to be invited. “If you want to invite, invite families of 700 plus farmers whose families were destroyed [during farmers’ agitation].”
Senior RLD leader and candidate from Chhaprauli Ajay Kumar told The Hindu BJP specialised in creating confusion among the electorate before polls. “They are rattled by the ground situation,” he said.
Local sources said the move meant that the BJP had accepted Mr. Chaudhary’s popularity in the region before polls and that its candidates were on a sticky wicket. “The BJP’s central leadership wants to create an impression among Muslims, who are with the SP, that the RLD/Jats could not be trusted and that they could move to BJP after polls,” said a farmer leader.
Observers said the move could be seen as a sign of desperation and weakened the position of the BJP’s Jat candidates before polls. “After the Kairana visit, the BJP has realised that the polarisation pitch is not working. When they approached khaps, they were asked why they did hit Jayant when he visited Hathras to visit the family of the Dalit girl,” said an RLD leader.