Despite some apprehensions, the Samajwadi Party (SP) is upbeat at the merger of the Janata Parivar announced on Wednesday. The SP cadre and leadership say that this would lend it a national image that had eluded the party so far.
Party leader and UP minister, Manoj Pandey, said, "The party as well as the country’s politics will gain due to the merger. It is the need of the hour both nationally and regionally to stall the communal and divisive forces. The merger would increase the stature of the party in the state without compromising on the basic structure, policy or philosophies of the party. It will have a positive effect in the 2017 assembly elections."
There was some apprehension within the party that the merger would compromise SP’s identity in the state, but Mulayam Singh Yadav on April 1 tried to put it to rest when he said, "At the national level, we may have to enter the poll arena united under a new party banner and symbol, but in the states, elections would be fought on the symbol of the party which emerges the strongest."
Welcoming the merger, Congress Rajya Sabha member, Raj Babbar said, "Such a merger is a pleasant thing at this juncture in Indian politics. Such experiments have been done before too, but it is much needed at present."
Another SP leader made clear the terms of the merger and said, "The merger would not involve, so far as I know, any seat sharing with any of the constituent members in the state or sharing of positions on the organisational level in the state."
Mahboob Ali, state cabinet minister, too echoed the sentiment and said, "There is no possibility of any negative impact of the merger on the Muslim vote bank. In fact, the merger would strengthen secular politics."
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state leader Surya Prattap Shahi said, "The bond will come unstuck as faster than it took time to merge. They came together and spilt apart earlier on a few occasions, same fate awaits them."