The process of merger of the Janata Parivar, which was started last year has been virtually shelved with the victory of the RJD and JDU in the Bihar Assembly elections, results of which were announced this week.
According to senior JDU leader and Rajya Sabha MP K.C. Tyagi, though a final call on the issue will be taken by senior party leaders after Nitish Kumar’s swearing-in ceremony, since the Samajwadi Party has opted out of the scheme, there is no question of merger anymore. The Mulayam Singh Yadav’s SP was one of the major constituents of the Janata Parivar which was to be merged.
“The matter stands dissolved now. The SP not only opted out of the plan, but also fielded candidates against the Grand Alliance candidates in Bihar. So where is the question of merger since the SP was a major constituent?” asked Tyagi. He, however, said his party would work to foster a broader unity among the non-BJP parties on issues like cooperative federalism.
The process to form the Janata Parivar had begun in October 2014 and a formal decision to unite the constituents was taken at a meeting at Mulayam Yadav’s residence in New Delhi in November last year. In April this year, six parties with socialist roots announced their “merger” to form a national party to be headed by SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. They were once part of the Janata Dal which disintegrated almost two decades ago. The six parties which “merged” were SP, JDU, RJD, Janata Dal (Secular), INLD and Samajwadi Janata Party.
However, the process suffered a setback when the constituent parties did not agree on a common party name, flag and symbol. In May, it was said that the merger will take place after Bihar elections. In September, Mulayam announced to field candidates separately in Bihar saying his party was given a raw treatment by the Grand Alliance, which gave a body blow to the experiment. Not only that, he later joined hands with the Nationalist Congress Party, and Samajwadi Janata Dal-Democratic, a regional outfit, thus forming a third front against the NDA and Grand Alliance.
However, now that the Grand Alliance has emerged victorious in Bihar, senior JDU and RJD leaders believe pushing for a merger does not make any sense. “Each constituent was active only in one state, with the only exception of JDU and RJD. So the merger did not have any effective meaning. In case of JDU and RJD, the two did not merge, but only had an alliance but the result was spectacular,” said a JDU leader.
The Janata Dal came into existence on 11 October 1988 when Jan Morcha, Lok Dal and Congress (S) decided to merge under the stewardship of the late V.P. Singh. However, the party split in 1990 when Chandra Shekhar parted ways to form the Samajwadi Janata Party. In 1992, Mulayam Singh Yadav also separated and formed his own Samajwadi Party. This was followed by parting of ways by George Fernandes and Nitish Kumar who formed Samata Party in 1994. Lalu formed RJD in 1997, while O.P. Chautala formed INLD in 1998. JD-U came into being in 2003.