The proposed merger of former Janata Parivar parties into one entity has run into its first major hurdle with parties debating on how to manage their financial assets and disgruntled members who risk losing their seat of choice in the negotiations, senior leaders told HT on Monday.
Parties that attract large donations like the Janata Dal (United) and Rashtriya Janata Dal said they were apprehensive about pooling their money after an Election Commission circular made it mandatory for donations of even less than Rs 20,000 to be recorded.
“The upkeep of the funds of each regional party has to be decided ahead of the merger. Whether or not it would be pooled is still a grey area,” said a source privy to talks between six regional parties coming together to form a single entity under the likely name of Samajwadi Janata Dal (SJD).
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar and Janata Dal (Secular) chief HD Deve Gowda recently met at New Delhi to discuss merging their parties into one major political formation to present a challenge to the BJP wave sweeping the country.
JD(U) and RJD insiders said the merger talks have not gone down well with sitting MLAs, who feel they may have to sacrifice their seats of choice in the negotiations.
Sources said the parties may even keep their groups intact and adopt a common symbol to contest elections as the SJD. “This is an alternative in which regional entities would not lose their identities and prevent dissent within their ranks,” said a senior leader.
JD(U) national spokesperson KC Tyagi said the parties would sort out the issue of asset management amicably and approach the EC together for recognition of the new outfit.