The Rashtriya Lok Dal will contest three Lok Sabha seats as part of an alliance with the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said on Tuesday and asserted that the Congress was 'very much' part of their 'mahagatbandhan' in Uttar Pradesh.
Addressing a press conference with Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Jayant Chaudhary, son of party founder Ajit Singh, Yadav said the RLD, which has political influence in western Uttar Pradesh, would contest Mathura, Baghpat and Muzaffarnagar Lok Sabha seats.
After repeated questions by reporters at the press conference, the SP chief said the Congress was 'very much in the alliance'.
"We have left two seats (Amethi and Rae Bareli) for the party (Congress)," he said.
Amethi is represented by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Rae Bareli by United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
Yadav said the alliance partners will jointly take on the Bharatiya Janata Party in Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh.
Chowdhury said that this alliance is a 'Sangam of ideologies and parties' and added that for him, 'relations are important'.
BSP chief Mayawati and SP's Yadav had jointly announced their alliance in January, saying the SP and the BSP will contest 38 seats each out of the total 80 in Uttar Pradesh.
However, according to a list released later, the SP announced it will contest 37 seats and the BSP 38.
On Feb 21, over a month after the SP-BSP alliance was announced, Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav made it clear that he was upset with the tie-up, questioning why Akhilesh Yadav gave "half" of the total seats in UP to Mayawati's party.
The remarks had come days after the SP patriarch created a stir in Parliament, saying he wished that Prime Minister Narendra Modi returns to power.
The BJP has previously downplayed the SP-BSP alliance, saying the parties have come together 'for their survival, and not for the country or Uttar Pradesh'.
It will not have a major impact on the Lok Sabha poll, the saffron party had said.
And the Congress had said it was exactly what the BJP had wanted initially and the two regional parties have fallen into the ruling party's design.
In 2014, the BJP had won 71 seats in Uttar Pradesh while its ally Apna Dal had bagged two. The Samajwadi Party won 5 seats and the Congress two, while the BSP drew a blank.
In the 2017 assembly polls, SP and BSP got 22 per cent votes each.
In the politically-crucial Uttar Pradesh, there are about 22 per cent Dalits, 45 per cent OBCs and 19 per cent Muslims, whose vote share will be decisive in the general election.