With neither leader having any genuine plank to counter the other, both are going all out in raking up the same issue—a separate state comprising the 22 districts of western UP. In a desperate attempt to sound original, both Jat leaders have different names for the proposed state. While Ajit Singh has declared that the fight for a separate Harit Pradesh tops his political agenda, Chautala has asked his supporters to begin a struggle in right earnest for a separate Kisan Pradesh. Whatever their relative merits, it poses a huge dilemma for the bjp, which has been pretty ambiguous on the idea of a separate 'Jatland' till now.
The 100-odd assembly seats of western UP, where Jat voters are either in majority or are in a position to tilt the electoral balance, have become very crucial for the bjp. With hopes of regaining power in UP almost lost, the bjp's only ray of hope is an alliance with the rld. According to the calculations of bjp strategists, such an alliance will add to the party's tally. But Chautala's proactive presence in western UP could mar such hopes. The bjp's problem is that it cannot afford to antagonise either. Chautala's support to the nda at the Centre is crucial because his Indian National Lok Dal (inld) has five MPs in the Lok Sabha. Moreover, the bjp has to take a stand on the issue of a further division of UP. While chief minister Rajnath Singh has indicated that he is open to the idea, officially party leaders have shied away from endorsing it, wary of opening up a Pandora's box.