Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Yadav’s continued efforts to stitch together an alliance found a chorus of support from the JD(U), RLD and JD(U) Friday.
Amid a feud in his party and family with UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on the other side, Shivpal Yadav has been reaching out to leaders of these parties in Delhi over the last three days. The latest was RLD chief Ajit Singh, whom Shivpal visited Friday. “Under the conditions that prevail today, unless these forces come on a joint platform, a powerful alternative to the BJP cannot be created,” Ajit Singh told The Indian Express. So, is the alliance happening? “It is the need of the hour,” he said.
In Patna, Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar said on the sidelines of a function: “We had tried unsuccessfully to merge six parties under Mulayam Singh Yadav’s leadership some time ago but that does not mean a similar effort should not be made to unite like-minded parties.”
“Since it was Mulayam who had halted the unification attempt of the Janata Parivar, it is good that he has renewed it,” JD(U) national spokesperson K C Tyagi said. And RJD national spokesperson Manoj Kumar Jha said, “We are very happy about the renewed effort in the context of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.” The RJD isn’t contesting in UP next year.
Shivpal said he met Ajit Singh to invite him for SP’s silver jubilee function in Lucknow on November 5. To questions about an alliance, he said, “We are trying to bring together all parties that believe in the ideologies of Ram Manohar Lohia and Charan Singh. If it happens, we can check the BJP in UP.”
Ajit Singh said he and Shivpal discussed many issues as they share a “paarivaarik sambandh” (family relationship). “Whatever has to happen will happen after the SP function,” he said.
The SP has invited leaders of potential allies to the event. The RJD’s Lalu Prasad hasn’t yet confirmed if he will attend. Nitish would apparently like to, but his schedule might come in the way. From November 9, he will set out on a Nischay Yatra to seek public feedback on the liquor ban and other government moves. Besides, the SP function coincides with the four-day Chhath festival.
Tyagi said Shivpal has talked to them and a formal invitation might be sent to Nitish. Shivpal has already visited Tyagi, while Shivpal as well as Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and party MP Ghulam Nabi Azad have had talks with JD(U)’s Sharad Yadav.
The Congress’s UP campaign strategist Prashant Kishor, incidentally, was present when Shivpal met Tyagi. “Prashant Kishor keeps meeting me,” Tyagi said. “It was just a coincidence that he came to meet me the same day that Shivpal visited me.”
The JD(U) and RLD, meanwhile, have been negotiating separately. Ajit Singh said leaders will start addressing joint rallies. The two parties had so far discussed Ajit Singh’s son Jayant Chaudhary as the CM face but a wider alliance might demand new plans. Ajit Singh would only say, “When talks were held with the JD(U), it was discussed Jayant would lead. Today the SP and RLD have held talks.”