The merger of Janata Parivar, especially the Janata Dal (U) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in Bihar, appears to have hit a roadblock over the issue of how the two components of the ‘merged entity’ will share seats for the Bihar assembly poll due later this year.
JD (U) insiders claimed “nothing has moved” on the issues of deciding the name, flag and symbol of the proposed political entity in the 17 days that have elapsed since the leaders of the six ‘Janata’ parties announced the merger in New Delhi on April 15.
A six-member committee was formed to decide on the name of the new party, its symbol, flag and other details. It was also decided that Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav would be chairman and also head the parliamentary party.
It is understood that Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar would be the leader and future CM candidate of the merged political entity, but there is little agreement between Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar on many issues.
“They will meet soon to take a call on the pending issues,” said JD(U) spokesman and Rajya Sabha MP KC Tyagi.
“Before elections, every alliance or merged political entity faces such seats-sharing issues. We too are no different but this will be settled once the merger is decided. Both the parties will have winnable candidates to rein the BJP,” Tyagi said.
While the JD (U) has staked its claim over all 115 seats it had won in 2010 assembly elections, the RJD wants to contest an equal number of seats, leaving only 13 seats for the Congress and left parties, the merged entity’s likely poll allies.
Though the final seat-sharing exercise will begin after the merger formalities are completed, both the parties have begun preliminary exercise of identifying ‘winning’ candidates for all the 243 assembly seats to take on the BJP-led NDA.
“The two parties might contest 100 seats each and the rest would be given to the Congress, left parties and other allies. But the winning potential of candidates from either of the two parties will be the main deciding factor,” a senior RJD leader said.
“As the JD (U) has bigger share of MLAs in the present assembly, it has to make some sacrifices and give preference to some RJD leaders who had lost by slender margin in 2010 assembly polls”, argued a former RJD state chief.
He said in at least 80 constituencies, the RJD lost to either JD (U) or BJP by thin margin. “Both the parties should consider these factors while finalising the candidates,” the RJD leader said.