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No permanent allies, nor enemies: How RLD has steered itself to four Houses, two govts

By cautiously switching alliances over the space of two years, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) has ensured a presence in both Houses of Parliament as well as the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly and Council.

As a result, the party now has ministers both in the Centre and UP governments, a stark contrast from two years ago, when the western UP-based party was at its lowest strength in the political arena, without a single elected member in any House of Parliament or UP.

In the 2017 UP Assembly elections, the RLD had returned with only one MLA — Sahendra Singh Ramala from Chhaprauli in Baghpat district. But a year later, he joined the BJP, as a result of which the party was left without any elected representative.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the RLD, in alliance with the Samajwadi Party (SP) and BSP, contested three seats in UP, but could not win any.

While the BSP walked out of the alliance after the Lok Sabha elections, the RLD continued to tag along with the SP, contesting 33 seats in the 2022 UP Assembly elections, and winning eight. The party later increased its strength to nine by winning the Khatauli bypoll, again in alliance with the SP.

In July 2022, RLD president Jayant Chaudhary, who had lost Lok Sabha elections in 2014 and 2019, got elected to the Rajya Sabha from UP with SP support. The RLD then went ahead and joined the Opposition INDIA bloc. But ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, it left the alliance to join the BJP-led NDA. Soon after joining the NDA, the RLD had its lone MLA — three-time Dalit MLA Anil Kumar from Purkazi in Muzaffarnagar district — inducted in the Yogi Adityanath Cabinet.

Around the same time, the BJP backed the RLD’s Yogesh Chaudhary’s election to UP’s Legislative Council.

Allotted two Lok Sabha

Read more on indianexpress.com