There is a feeling in western UP that already 70 percent Jat community had moved to BJP in the last two elections (Lok Sabha and assembly). Thus Jat-Muslim combination has lost it political significance. The BJP has thus planned to further consolidate Jat-Gujjar-Dalit combination in the forthcoming elections. However, in view of possible dominance of Jats after RLD’s joining of NDA there is likelihood of a substantial chunk of “non-Jat” community shifting to opposition parties-INDIA bloc, writes M Hasan
Lucknow, February 10: The masterstroke of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bestow much-delayed “Bharat Ratna” award on icon of farmers Chaudhury Charan Singh and consequently the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) plan to join NDA bandwagon before crucial 2024 Lok Sabha elections is going to transform political scenario in western UP and also bury RLD’s long nourished “Jat-Muslim” combination, on which the party has thrived in the past.
The RLD chief Jayant Chaudhury, who is grandson of Chaudhury Charan Singh, has already given enough indication to desert the INDIA bloc and move to NDA. Both the RLD and BJP are likely to join platform at a rally at Chaprauli on February 12 on birth anniversary of late Chaudhury Ajit Singh father of Jayant Chaudhury.
Jayant Chaudhury, who is Rajya Sabha member from Samajwadi Party quota, had succeeded in winning eight assembly seats in 2022 assembly elections in alliance with SP and later one more seat of Khatauli had gone to the RLD in byelections. However, in 2019 Lok Sabha election it could not win any seat. Now there are reports of BJP sparing Baghpat and Bijnaur Lok Sabha seats to RLD. But the long-nurtured Jat-Muslim combination of RLD, which could not work in 2022 poll also, is all set to collapse in 2024 elections.
In view of Jayant Chaudhury’s “Dil Jit liya” comment on Bharat Ratna award to his grandfather, Muslim community is unlikely to have political sympathy with the Chaudhury family in the region. The community has now demanded resignation of all nine RLD MLAs who had won 2022 assembly elections in alliance with SP. Talking to Urban Mirror Maulana Nazar of Muzaffarnagar said the RLD had won these seats on the “secular and socialist” platform. But “if Jayant Chaudhury moves to NDA he should ask his MLAs to resign from these seats”.
There is a feeling in western UP that already 70 percent Jat community had moved to BJP in the last two elections (Lok Sabha and assembly). Thus Jat-Muslim combination has lost it political significance. The BJP has thus planned to further consolidate Jat-Gujjar-Dalit combination in the forthcoming elections. However in view of possible dominance of Jats after RLD’s joining of NDA there is likelihood of a substantial chunk of “non-Jat community shifting to opposition parties-INDIA bloc.
Prominent Jat leader Harinder Malik of Samajwadi Party has been making hectic effort to keep control over the community. His son is SP MLA. The RLD’s shifting loyalties is not a new phenomenon as in the past also Chaudhury Ajit Singh had been entering into alliance with BJP, Congress or SP. The RLD’s best performance of winning 14 MLAs was in 2004 when the party had electoral pact with the BJP.
In 2022, Of the total 58 seats the BJP has won 46 seats the SP-RLD alliance could win only 12 which included eight seats for RLD and four for SP. The strike rate of the RLD, which had contested on 33 seats in this region, had been quite poor. Similarly, the SP could win only four seats, which has amply demonstrated that “Jat-Muslim” combination could not work on the ground. While Muslims, had voted unitedly for the SP alliance, the Jat community had once again gone to the BJP. The defeat of SP’s Jat candidates, then amply demonstrated that the community by and large stayed away from Akhilesh Yadav.
In view of fast changing political equations in western UP, SP would have to think afresh about the alliance minus RLD. Already the party as a part of INDIA bloc has been negotiating seat adjustment with the Congress. Akhilesh Yadav is likely to join Rahul Gandhi’s Yatra in Amethi. With nearly 35 percent population of Muslim community in western UP including Roohelkhand, comprising Barielly division, whether SP or Congress would have to work hard to mobilize two other dominant social groups to make a winning combination. “Muslims are solidly behind the SP but the leadership would have to be careful in ticket distribution in western UP to widen its social base”, commented Maulana Nazar, who is also vice president of Jamiat ulema Hind.
Since the BJP has been making determined efforts to wean away “Jatavs” (Dalits) from BSP it would be watched with interest whether the Dalit out fit would be able to retain its 12 percent support base in the West. Mayawati has already announced to go it alone in Lok Sabha elections.
(Former Chief of Bureau Hindustan Times M Hasan is Lucknow-based journalist)