Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday asked Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav to call a meeting of all six Janata Parivar constituents, and explain if it was a “technical hitch” or something more that was delaying the much-hyped merger.
The JD(U) leader’s call for a Janata Parivar meeting comes after RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh recently said his party must contest 145 seats in the Assembly elections, in case of an alliance. In a terse response, Nitish had said that the RJD was free to contest all 243 seats.
“Mulayam Singh Yadav should immediately call a meeting of all six Janata Parivar parties to discuss the technical hitch, or tell people if there are other reasons (for the delay in merger),” the Chief Minister said during his weekly Janata Durbar.
In some signs of a thaw in the acrimony between the RJD and the JD(U), the two parties have decided to contest 10 seats each in the Legislative Council elections, leaving four seats for Congress and Left. RJD MLC Bhola Yadav said: “We have struck a deal for Council polls. Everything has gone smoothly.” The two parties held at least six meetings in two weeks to reach an agreement over the Council elections.
The stalled Janata Parivar merger, however, has opened all communication channels for exploring political permutations and combinations. While BJP scotched “rumours” of Nitish’s growing camaraderie with NDA ministers, sources said spreading such talk may well have been JD(U)’s ploy to “keep Lalu in check from playing too much of an elder brother to Nitish”.
While Lalu forced the state government to agree to challenge a recent Patna High Court verdict staying quota for SCs and STs in job promotions, former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi renewed his communication channel with the RJD chief.