The Janata Dal (United) has said it will contest more than 200 seats in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections due early 2022 if ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) doesn’t take the party on board for the polls, an election that will have a bearing on national politics.
JD(U) principal general secretary and national spokesperson KC Tyagi told The Indian Express that he had conveyed to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath his party’s interest in contesting the polls in an alliance with the ruling BJP but he hadn't responded to the proposal.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led party had organised itself in UP and held meetings in the state, he said. The two parties are alliance partners in Bihar.
The former Rajya Sabha member said his party would go it alone if there was no alliance with the BJP and may contest more than 200 seats with a sizable Koeri-Kurmi population.
The party may put up candidates in the Poorvanchal region that borders Bihar, Bareilly and adjoining areas, and central UP. “There are at least 16 districts where we can look to field candidates,” Tyagi said.
In the 2107 assembly polls, the JD(U) had withdrawn from the contest at the last moment and followed it up by returning to the National Democratic Alliance a few months later.
The BJP stormed to power by winning 312 of the 403 assembly seats. Former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP) and Congress, which had tied up for the election, could only manage 47 and 7 seats, respectively. Former chief minister Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) won 19 seats.
While the BJP says it is confident of repeating its performance, there have been rumblings in the party over Adityanath’s handling of the second Covid wave, forcing the central leadership to step in.
Anupriya Singh Patel's Apna Dal (Sonelal), which has nine MLAs and two Lok Sabha members, is also a BJP ally.
India's most populous state also sends 80, the highest among states, members to the Lok Sabha.