Ahead of the Bihar assembly elections, a disagreement over the chief ministerial face post the merger of 'Janata Parivar' constituents is believed one of the main stumbling blocks in the JD(U)-RJD coalition.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) insiders said the Janata Dal (United)'s insistence on Bihar CM Nitish Kumar's projection as the chief ministerial candidate after the merger had 'caused a logjam' and acted as a deterrent for the merger talks.
According to sources, this was one of the main points of disagreement that had hindered the progress of the latest round of merger talks held at the New Delhi residence of Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
The 'Janata Parivar' was announced on April 15 and Mulayam has been chosen to lead the body. However, there has not been any announcement of a flag or symbol for the 'Parivar'. Since then, both, SP leader Ram Gopal Verma and RJD chief Lalu Prasad have spoken of 'technical hitches'.
A leader, claiming anonymity, said that Lalu had refused to give his consent on the projection of any face for the CM's post, much to the disappointment of the JD(U) top brass.
On Saturday, Kumar met the SP chief seeking formation of a committee to decide on seat adjustment, leadership issue and the choice of candidates. This was widely seen as a tacit acknowledgment that the 'merger' talks were not going the way he wanted.
"We cannot project Nitish Kumar as the chief ministerial face at this time as it is filled with risks of annoying Yadavs, who are the traditional voters of the RJD. If they shift towards the BJP in reaction, we'll pay a big price in the assembly poll," said a senior RJD leader.
He said the RJD chief, during Friday's talks, had proposed to keep the leadership issue on hold and focus on seat sharing so that good candidates with high winning quotient could be selected against the BJP led NDA for all 243 assembly seats.
However, the JD(U) top brass, including party president Sharad Yadav, was reportedly unconvinced about the RJD's logic.