Rashtriya Lok Dal president Ajit Singh has, for some time now, been trying to land a place in a formation that has a winning chance in the assembly election in Uttar Pradesh, which is a few months away. The political grapevine in the capital has it that he tried to reach out to the BJP president Amit Shah. And how!
Shah's media team posted a message a week ago about big guns from other parties coming into Sangh Parivar's fold—no questions asked about their past ideology or ability to change colours. In Ajit Singh's case it would be from green to saffron. And it goes without saying most of these heavyweight newcomers are from Uttar Pradesh.
Ajit Singh, it is said, sent his son Jayant Chaudhary, to meet Shah a few weeks ago. When Jayant asked for a Rajya Sabha seat for his father in lieu of this alliance, he was given the green signal. Next year, said master strategist Shah. Jayant said he would consult with his father and return.
Ajit told Jayant that in politics one cannot accept an IOU. These deals have to materialise on the spot. But the word of an impending alliance had spread and angry Jats had gathered outside his house.
The RLD is essentially a party of the Jats of western Uttar Pradesh. Ajit told them that it was not he who had gone to meet Shah, but the other way around. The Jats were happy. How many seats will we get, asked one of them.
Like a true politician, Ajit twisted the truth and said that they will negotiate that later, based on what others offer them—that is, if the Samajwadi Party or the Bahujan Samaj Party offer more, why should they settle for less from the BJP.
Apparently this conversation reached the BJP president. He did not give Ajit Singh or Jayant Chaudhary an appointment thereafter.
Last week, Swami Prasad Maurya, four-time MLA and leader of the opposition in the UP assembly, announced he was quitting the Bahujan Samaj party because its supremo Mayawati was “auctioning party tickets”. In no time, Mayawati announced that she would have expelled him anyway on grounds of promoting dynastic politics.
Talk in Lucknow and Delhi was that Maurya, who was once upon a time extremely close to the former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, would have negotiated a better deal for himself in a rival party—either the ruling Samajwadi Party, or the BJP which has swung into serious pre-election mode in the state.
But like Ajit Singh, Maurya is also looking around for a new party for himself! And, in spite of parties having their doors wide open for defectors, Ajit and Maurya are not finding themselves a new nest.
The moral of the story is it is not enough to be a good politician. In the era of smartphones and smart cities, politicians have to be smart—or they will be left hanging!