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United Janata Parivar set for Bihar litmus test

United Janata Parivar set for Bihar litmus test
The new outfit will be headed by SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. The six major parties of the erstwhile Janata Dal – SP, Janata Dal (United), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Janata Dal (Secular), Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Samajwadi Janata Party (Rashtriya) – merged to form a single entity to take on their arch-rival BJP in the upcoming Assembly elections in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

SP has five seats in the Lok Sabha and 15 in the Rajya Sabha, while the party is in power in Uttar Pradesh with 232 MLAs in the 403-member Assembly. The RJD has four members in the Lok Sabha and one in the Rajya Sabha, while the JD(U) has two in the Lok Sabha and 12 in the Upper House.

JD(U) is in power in Bihar. Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (Secular) has two seats in the Lok Sabha and one in the Rajya Sabha, while INLD has two members in the Lower House and one in the Upper House. The first litmus test for the faction will be the Bihar elections, where two stalwarts who were bitter rivals for years – CM Nitish Kumar and former CM Lalu Prasad Yadav – will jointly take on the BJP, determined to sweep the state polls.

JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav announced the merger, with Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu Prasad Yadav by his side, after a meeting at SP chief’s Delhi residence. “All parties have unanimously agreed for the merger and Mulayam Singh Yadav will be the chief of the party as well as of the parliamentary board,” said Sharad Yadav. He added that apart from him, Nitish Kumar, HD Deve Gowda, Lalu Prasad Yadav, OP Choutala, Kamal Morarka and Shivpal Yadav will be members of the parliamentary panel.

On the new outfit’s name and election symbol, Yadav said a decision on this would be taken after detailed consultations. But sources in the Janata Parivar said the name of new party would be Samajwadi Janata Party and SP’s ‘cycle’ will be its election symbol. “Almost all parties have agreed to the new name, while the INLD has some reservations on the symbol issue. That’s why it was not declared today. But it will be resolved after one or two rounds of talks,” an insider said.

Refuting suggestions of ego clashes with Nitish Kumar, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav said, “I have no ego issues with Nitish Kumar. We are together and will do the needful to stop the BJP from coming to power in Bihar. The BJP’s defeat will begin from Bihar only. Our fight will be against communal forces, who are dividing the country.”
Dhirendra Kumar

Dhirendra Kumar

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