Less than a month after the formal announcement of their coming together, the merger of the erstwhile Janata Parivar parties has hit a roadblock. Samajwadi leader Ram Gopal Yadav has said no merger would be possible before the Bihar Assembly polls but the President of the Janata Dal (U) Sharad Yadav immediately contradicted him. “We have already merged. Please ask Mulayam Singh ji as he has been made the head of the new party and (who is) the only person authorised to make a statement,” Sharad Yadav said.
Ram Gopal Yadav, who is General Secretary of the SP, is said to be vociferous within his party against the merger of the six offshoots of the erstwhile Janata Dal, which ruled at the Centre in the late 80s and the latter half of the 90s. He said a merger at this stage would amount to signing the “death warrant” of his own party. Instead, he suggested that the best course of action would be for the Lalu Prasad-led RJD and Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) to fight the Bihar Assembly polls — slated for later this year — under a seat-sharing arrangement as they will lose their party symbols if they merge now.
“The merger is not possible before the Bihar election due to technicalities. If we merge in a hurry, it will be like signing the death warrant of my own party,” the SP leader told reporters.
His comments are a clear signal of the unease within the Mulayam Singh Yadav-led party over the merger as many SP leaders believe that the UP-based party stands to gain nothing from an exercise aimed at consolidating the base of two Bihar-based outfits, JD(U) and RJD, before the election later this year.
The merger of the Janata Parivar parties was announced last month with a declaration that Mulayam would head the new entity.
Besides the strong opposition to the merger from within the SP, which rules Uttar Pradesh, differences between RJD and JD(U) had also cropped up off late over the seat-sharing formula for Bihar polls and both Lalu and Nitish Kumar had camped in Delhi last week for over three days to sort out their issues.
Many SP leaders that their party would not gain anything from the merger as parties like JD(U) and RJD have no base in UP and that the merger may even harm it as it may lose its symbol and identity cultivated among the people in UP over last many years.