NEW DELHI: With a merger topping the agenda, six parties of the erstwhile Janata Parivar — JD(U) leaders Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, JD(S) leader H D Deve Gowda, INLD leader Dushyant Chautala and Samajwadi Janata Party leader Kamal Morarka — moved a step closer to the alliance at a Thursday luncheon meeting.
The new grouping, Samajwadi Janata Party, authorised veteran leader from the battleground State of Uttar Pradesh, Mulayam Singh Yadav, to work out the modalities of the new political party on behalf of all the constituents.
If Lalu Prasad had any doubts about an immediate merger and wanted to buy a little time, he was prevailed upon to go along with the new tide — the only way to overwhelm or counter the Narendra Modi phenomenon. Though on record, former Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar vehemently denied it.
Asked whether a fear of Modi’s political success had forced the parties to come together, Kumar said, “This is not about being afraid of anyone. We feel that in the current political scenario, the Opposition needs to be united. The situation is such that no one is questioning anything.”
The new formation will hold a sit-in dharna in Delhi on the failed promises of the NDA/BJP government on black money, job creation and farmer’s plight and other such issues on December 22.
The Parliamentary strength of the six parties put together is 15 in the 543-member Lok Sabha. However, their combination may work has a force multiplier in UP and Bihar, which go to polls in 2015 and in 2017.