Janata parivar merge to counter BJP surge

Rajat Kain

lalu_nitishThe much awaited unification of ‘Janta Parivar’ finally commenced on Wednesday in the capital with the merger of six political parties. Leaders of six political parties – Janata Dal (United), Samajwadi Party, RJD, Samajwadi Janata Party, Janata Dal (Secular) and Indian National Lok Dal announced the formation of a new political front. The name and election symbol of the new party is yet to be decided.

However, chief of Samajwadi Party Mulayam Singh Yadav will be its head and leader of their Parliamentary board committee.

The merger of these parties, representing chiefly the Socialist ideology propagated by late Ram Manohar Lohia, has been initiated to counter the nation-wide surge of the BJP. The leaders of new party also stressed the need to combat communal forces in the country.

“There are no ego issues among any of our members. We have joined hands to combat communal forces and defeat the BJP from coming to power” said JD (U) senior leader Sharad Yadav.

The merger has also taken in the backdrop of the weakened position of these parties of which the most till mid-80s represented an original umbrella organisation called Janata Party. All the six parties have suffered a massive jolt in 2014 General Elections as BJP had swept their strongholds, especially in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Haryana.

The decision to merge is also seen a crucial one by some of these leaders as they have felt the relevance of their individual parties and the mettle of their own leadership has been challenged off late. In particular the likes of RJD and INLD, who had once held fort in Bihar and Haryana respectively, have felt the biggest challenge of losing ground fast and thick. Both have suffered reverses in 2014 General Elections, while the INLD too was dented in Haryana Assembly polls held in November last year.

The biggest challenge before the new outfit will be Bihar polls due later this year.

Taking on the BJP, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad said “It is the BJP that has ushered in maha jungle raj in the country by damaging its secular fabric by spreading religious fanaticism, ghar wapsi (religious re-conversion) and glorifying (Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin) Nathuram Godse”.

On the other hand, BJP’s ally in Bihar and the Centre — Lok Janshakti Party ruled out any serious challenge emerging from this merger.

Union Minister and Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan claimed “The amalgamation of the constituents of Janata Parivar will not affect the prospects of the alliance between BJP and LJP in Bihar polls. We are hopeful that BJP-LJP combine will form government in Bihar by winning 75 per cent of total seats (in Bihar)”.

The new outfit under the collective leadership of one former Prime Minister (Deve Gowda), three former Chief Ministers (Mulayam Singh Yadav, Lalu Prasad and OP Chautala) and a sitting Chief Minister (Nitish Kumar) will be represented by 45 MPs in the current Parliament. Of them, 30 are in the upper house.