The question now is whether Jayant Chaudhary, who is making his first independent foray into electoral politics after the demise of his father Chaudhary Ajit Singh last year, will regain lost ground for the party and emerge as a political force to reckon with.
Jayant faces the challenge of carrying forward the legacy, not only of his father, but also grandfather and former Prime Minister, late Chaudhary Charan Singh.
The RLD has been on the downslide since 2014 when majority of Jats went with the BJP after the Muzaffarnagar riots.
The trend consolidates in the 2017 assembly and 2019 Lok Sabha elections and the RLD was completely side-lined in the state politics.
In the past five years, when his father Ajit Singh took a back seat, Jayant has been quietly touring the villages in western UP, meeting Khap leaders and repairing his ties with Jats.
The year-long farmers' agitation against the three farm laws, gave RLD a chance to reclaim lost ground. Jayant extended support to the agitation and the farmers, too, did not resent his presence even when other political parties were asked to stay away.
Jayant now has the sympathy of Jats after his father' demise and his supporters are enthused over the renewed Jat-Muslim bonhomie to a great extent. The climate has been favourable for the RLD.
Sarvesh Tygai, a farmer in Baghpat says, "He is the 'chhora' (son)' of Chaudhary family and it is our responsibility to look after him because he has no elder left in the family. I and many others, look upon him as a son and we will guide him whenever needed."
Jayant, who had lost his Lok Sabha seat to BJP's Hema Malini in 2014 - his party drew a complete blank in these elections.
In 2017, RLD won one seat in Chaprauli but the lone MLA crossed over to the BJP in 2018.
RLD spokesman Anil Dubey says, "The way the top BJP leaders tried to woo Jayant, and failed to break the RLD-SP alliance, is evident from the fact that the BJP was scared of our leader's popularity. The RLD is going to re-emerge as a force to reckon with after this election."
Political analysts feel that RLD could have gained more if it had allied with the BJP but, apparently, Jayant responded to the mood of the farmers and opted for Samajwadi Party for an alliance.
Political soothsayers also believe that Jayant Chaudhary could emerge as the proverbial dark horse in state politics if the polls throw up a hung assembly.
"In case no party gets a clear majority, both SP and BJP will reach out to Jayant Chaudhary if the RLD gets a substantial number of seats and he could strike gold in such a situation," said political observer.
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