New Delhi, July 29: Apparently seeking to strengthen its position in Western parts of poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, Congress has begun alliance talks with Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal.
Talks for a tie-up with RLD are on, Party General Secretary Digvijay Singh told reporters here.
The remark assumes significance as it comes close on the heels of SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav spurning an alliance with the RLD and asking Ajit instead to merge his party with the Samajwadi party. Ajit was quick to rebuff Mulayam, dubbing him as “anti-farmer.”
Digvijay, who is in charge of the party's affairs in Uttar Pradesh, had said sometime back that party leader Rahul Gandhi has been authorised to finalise the tie-ups.
Congress has already declared that it would go for tie-ups with smaller parties and would have no truck with the ruling BSP, SP as also the BJP. In the last Lok Sabha elections, Congress had won 22 of the 80 seats in the state.
Gandhi has been leading the campaign in Uttar Pradesh to mobilise farmers on the issue of land acquisition and had only recently held a “Mahapanchayat” of peasants over the matter in Aligarh.
Reports had it that the growing warmth between the two parties is largely due to friendship between Gandhi and RLD MP from Mathura Jayant Chaudhury, who is son of Ajit Singh.
The Congress has been desperately trying to widen its base in Western UP which has 125 Assembly seats spread over 22 districts. There is a feeling in the Congress that a poll pact with RLD might help in getting Jat support in the region. PTI