Janata parivar plan hits roadblock

RJD chief demands more seats to contest Bihar Assembly polls

Janata parivar plan hits roadblock

The RJD-JD(U) merger has hit a roadblock, with RJD leader Lalu Prasad demanding more seats to contest in the coming Assembly elections if the two parties come together.

Prasad is asking for an assurance, but the JD(U) has rejected the demand.

“It seems that the merger will not become a reality. Lalu Prasad says he should get more seats to contest in the Assembly elections. Prasad wants seat share to be decided on the basis of performance of various parties in the Lok Sabha elections,” said a senior JD(U) leader.

He said Lalu Prasad has proposed that there should be an understanding after the merger that leaders of old parties should decide seat share.

JD(U) sources said that formula is disastrous for the party, as it had performed poorly in the general elections, bagging only two seats as just four of its candidates were runners-up. In comparison, the RJD had done fairly well—four seats and 18 candidates as runners-up. “Obviously, we cannot accept it,” said the JD(U) leader.

Sources in the Janata parivar parties added that the Samajwadi Party (SP) was also not too keen on a merger.

“Mulayam Singh thinks no one can help the SP in Uttar Pradesh. He thinks he is capable of winning seats on his own. In that case, he does not require any outside support,” said a source.

Confidence returns

This has made the situation very difficult, said the sources. “They were scared after the Lok Sabha elections drubbing. Now, they have regained their confidence. But they do not realise that going alone might be disastrous for them. By-elections in Bihar have shown that they can easily defeat the BJP if they are united,” said a leader.

“In any case, it would be big setback for JD(U) leader and former chief minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar. He took the risk of partnering Lalu Prasad, who is extremely unpopular among some sections of society. If the merger fails, Kumar will be a great loser. He and Sharad Yadav will, however, continue to pursue it,” said a JD(U) source.

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