No headway in Janata merger talks

No headway in Janata merger talks

No headway in Janata merger talks

The much-awaited merger talks among constituents of the erstwhile Janata Dal did not make much headway on Wednesday owing to former Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s sudden illness.

But, the ball was set rolling when leaders of the Janata Parivar met over “dahi-chuda” (curd and beaten rice) on the occasion of “Makar Sankranti” here.

Janata Dal-United (JD-U) national president Sharad Yadav and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)  chief Lalu Prasad remained evasive on the possible merger of six parties.

 The JD-U, JD-Secular, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), RJD and the Samajwadi Party have plans to merger into one entity. Sources in the Bihar ruling JD-U said the new party could possibly be called Samajwadi Janata Dal.

“Merger talks are going on in the direct direction. A possible name for the new party is Samajwadi Janata Dal. Mulayam Singh may become the president of the new entity while the decision on party’s flag/election symbol will be discussed in New Delhi soon,” said JD-U general secretary and Rajya Sabha member KC Tyagi here.

A “Makar Sankranti” feast was organised by Bihar JD (U) chief Bashishtha Narayan Singh at a club here.

The INLD was represented by its senior leader Abhay Chautala, who was especially flown in here from Haryana to show hiis solidarity with Janata leaders. A similar feast was organised at 10 Circular Road, the residence of Lalu Prasad’s wife Rabri Devi.

Leaders from the JD (U), RJD, Congress and the INLD said an anti-BJP front was needed now. “Or else, the secular parties will meet the same fate as it happened in Jharkhand elections last month,” said Ramai Ram, a senior minister in the Jitan Ram Manjhi Government of Bihar.

After the feast was over, Lalu, Abhay Chautala, Tyagi and others went to meet Nitish Kumar at his residence where the JD-U leader was recuperating from fever.

Sources said the JD-U and the RJD would merge first as the Assembly elections in Bihar would be held after nine months.

“This merger will take place by January-end and the legislators of the newly formed group will elect a new legislature party leader,” said the sources. They said some members of the RJD could become ministers soon.

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