Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav on Sunday declared his party's approval for the merger of the six erstwhile Janata parivar parties. But contrary to speculation, the name, flag or symbol of the merged entity was not announced.
“The merger of the RJD, the JD(U) and the other four parties is now final. A formal announcement will be made soon by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav,” Lalu told mediapersons in Patna after the day-long national executive meeting of his party.
Lalu told mediapersons that the coming together of these parties was necessary to contain the “communal and divisive agenda” of the BJP.
In New Delhi, JD(U) general secretary KC Tyagi welcomed Lalu’s statement and reiterated that the merger formalities will get completed before Parliament re-convenes on April 20 and a formal announcement is expected within a week.
On a day that Lalu obtained his party’s approval in Patna for the re-unification move, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and INLD leader Om Prakash Chauthala informally discussed modalities of the proposal with SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav at the latter’s residence.
With Lalu’s announcement on Sunday a big obstacle in the merger proposal seems to have been overcome. The RJD chief had reportedly been facing stiff resistance from senior leaders, including former union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh.
While there are still differences of perceptions amongst ‘parivar’ leaders over future goals, they are in broad agreement over the need to come together under one platform to prevent the ruling BJP from expanding its footprints in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
While the RJD and JD(U) favour taking the Congress on board to form a secular combine against the NDA, other faction leaders including the JD(S) and the SP are against the idea. Assembly elections in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are due this October and in 2017, respectively.
A formal announcement on the name, election symbol and flag of the merged entity will be announced by the SP chief next week after he recovers from his current bout of illness, sources said.
At the Patna press conference, Lalu also lashed out at BJP president Amit Shah for his statement in Bengaluru that jungle raj-2 had returned to Bihar after the JD(U) “joined hands” with the RJD after breaking away from the NDA
“It is the BJP that has ushered in maha jungle raj in the country by damaging its secular fabric by spreading religious fanaticism, ghar wapsi (religious re-coversion) and gloryfing (Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin) Nathuram Godse”, he said.
“I am throwing a challenge to Shah to do three things: bring back black money, scrap the anti-poor land acquisition bill and give employment to youths as promised ahead of the 2014 poll, before he sets foot in Bihar,” Lalu thundered.
The six erstwhile Janata parivar parties that will merge into a single entity to take on the BJP and its NDA allies are: Lalu’s RJD, Mulayam’s SP, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United), former PM HD Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (Secular), Om Prakash Chautala's Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the Samajwadi Janata Party, founded by former PM Chandra Shekhar.