Janata Parivar leaders (from right) Mulayam Singh Yadav, Sharad Yadav, H. D. Deve Gowda, Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar during their meeting at Mulayam’s residence, in New Delhi on Thursday. Photo: V. Sudershan
Sources say it will be completed by budget session
The Janata Parivar took a step towards forming a single party on Thursday when its constituents authorised Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh to work out the modalities for the merger of six parties.
“Mr. Mulayam Singh has been authorised to work out the modalities through which our six parties can merge,” said the former Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar, emerging from the meeting at the SP leader’s residence. “When political parties merge, there are many formalities that have to be completed before the new party can be formed. In Bihar, we are already working together — now this will be expanded to the all-India level.”
“The current political circumstances,” Mr. Kumar continued, “demanded that the opposition should strengthen itself so that the voices of the people can be amplified. After this merger, we will approach other parties as well.”
The six parties that have in principle agreed to merge are the Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (United), Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal (Secular), Indian National Lok Dal and Samajwadi Janata Party.
Later, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, who played a key role in bringing all these parties together, told The Hindu: “We have taken a decision in principle to merge, but the actual process will take time. Each of the parties will have to over the next few months call conventions of their organisations where the decision will be ratified separately.”
Janata Parivar sources said they hoped the merger would be completed by the budget session, but as there were several issues such as the new party’s name and symbol, they wanted to get it right.
Meanwhile, starting December 22, when they would have a joint demonstration, they would be organising collective public meetings at State headquarters going down to the district level to create the mood. The December 22 meeting, probably at Jantar Mantar, will focus on the government’s “failure” to bring back black money stashed abroad in tax havens, its reneging on the electoral promises it had made to farmers on the price for their produce as well as the rising unemployment”.
At Thursday’s meeting, sources said, Mr. Kumar stressed the urgency for a merger as the political circumstances demand it. This was endorsed by the others present.
RJD leader Lalu Prasad, who is barred from contesting elections, reportedly said even though there were a few minor differences between his party and the JD-U, he would sit with Mr. Kumar and iron them out. INLD leader Dushyant Chautala said his grandfather and INLD supremo Om Prakash Chautala was in agreement with the idea of a merger. He added that as soon as Mr. Chautala was out on bail, he would begin work of merging the INLD into the new party.
Apart from Mr. Kumar, Mr. Mulayam Singh, Mr. Sharad Yadav, Mr. Prasad and Mr. Chautala, others present were former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav, JD-U leader K.C. Tyagi and SJP’s Kamal Morarka.