Meerut (Uttar Pradesh), Jan 20 (IANS) Massive protests over candidate selection have forced the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) to replace its candidate Veerpal Rathi with Ajay Kumar from Chaprauli seat in Baghpat.
Chaprauli, a RLD stronghold, was the only seat won by the party in 2017.
The move comes after the party is facing a revolt-like situation on eight seats that have been given to the Samajwadi leaders who are contesting on the RLD symbol.
Veerpal Rathi, however is not an SP leader and belongs to the RLD.
The new candidate, Ajay Kumar, had won the 2002 elections by a margin of 64,000 votes.
According to sources in Baghpat, there was a strong opposition to Rathi’s candidature by a majority of Jat community.
“Change of the candidate is a positive signal and raises hopes of party leaders who feel side-lined due to denial of tickets,” said a RLD leader.
The RLD is in a pre-poll alliance with SP in Uttar Pradesh.
Hours after the announcement of alliance candidates for the two constituencies of Meerut, an agitation had erupted against the party and angry workers even burnt the RLD flag in Siwalkhas constituency.
The two candidates — Ghulam Mohammad and Manisha Ahlawat — were actually SP leaders who had been given tickets on RLD symbol.
According to the RLD leaders, at least 8 seats across west UP have SP candidates on RLD symbol.
“In Muzaffarnagar alone, out of five seats given to RLD in alliance, four have SP candidates fighting on RLD symbol which infuriated the RLD cadre,” said an RLD leader.