Janata Parivar parties merge to take on BJP

Mulayam is chief of yet-to-be named outfit

Janata Parivar parties merge to take on BJP

Six offshoots of the Janata Parivar—the Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal-United, Janata Dal-Secular, Indian National Lok Dal and the Samajwadi Janata Party—formally announced their merger on Wednesday. 

Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav has been elected chairman of the new outfit. The SP chief will also head the party parliamentary board.

The new party will have 15 members in the Lok Sabha and 30 in Rajya Sabha. The leaders declared that they have joined hands to take on the Narendra Modi government.

While announcing the merger at a press conference in Mulayam’s residence, Janata Dal-United (JD-U) chief Sharad Yadav said that a committee has been formed to decide the name, symbol, flag and the policy statement of the new party.

The committee comprises former prime minister and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) chief H D Deve Gowda, Sharad Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) chief Omprakash Chautala, Ramgopal Yadav (SP) and Kamal Morarka (Samajwadi Janata Party).

Sources said that the leaders are trying to bring back the “wheel” symbol which was blocked by the Election Commission after a split in the Janata Dal. In case they do not get this symbol, they will adopt SP’s “bicycle” symbol.

The party name will also be decided according to the availability of the symbol.  The outfit will require the word “Samajwadi” to adopt bicycle symbol.  For using the “wheel”, they will have to add “Janata Dal” to the part name.

All top leaders of the constituent parties, Gowda, Mulayam, Lalu, Nitish Kumar (JD-U) and Abhay Chautala (INLD) gave final touches to the talks which has been going on for the last 10 months.

The merger hit a roadblock over the issue of alliance with other parties in Kerala. The JD-S is in alliance with the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the JD-U with the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF).

Gowda had made it clear that his party will not leave the LDF. The JD-U, which has merged with the Veerendra Kumar-led Samajwadi Janata Party (Democratic), was also adamant over continuing its alliance with the UDF.

Gowda had even threatened to walk out of the merger-process. The issue was later resolved by Mulayam.

Gowda, however, said that the JD-S would be contesting the Bengaluru civic body polls with its present name and symbol, but clarified that he would later join the new outfit. 
All leaders of the new outfit unanimously attacked the Modi government. Mulayam said that the government was arrogant and had done nothing to solve the problems plaguing the country.

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