The Janata Parivar’s unification, sealed in Delhi Wednesday by six political parties with Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav at helm, is an experiment that faces several hurdles in Uttar Pradesh. While Mulayam’s decision may not face an overt challenge, it will be hard for the veteran leader to gather support of his family members, party leaders and even workers here.
Office bearers in SP claim that the experiment’s fate depends on Bihar assembly polls, slated for this year. If the Parivar (since no name has been decided upon yet) wins the polls, the merger will continue; if it doesn’t, the unification will die its own death.
SP leaders are also apprehensive about losing the party’s identity, its election symbol — cycle — and its flag, which has been strengthened in over two decades. Although the Parivar is yet to take a call on the name and symbol of the party, it is almost decidedly certain that the new group will not retain the SP’s election symbol and the party’s flag.
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While the party denies any rift prevailing within, question about the party’s leadership in Rajya Sabha is already being raised. Will Ramgopal Yadav continue as the leader or vacate the seat for JD(U) president Sharad Yadav.
Ramgopal, SP’s national general secretary, did not attend the unification meeting on Wednesday.
The sense of discomfort first surfaced on April 1 when SP’s several district unit presidents, at the party headquarters in the presence of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and minister Shivpal Yadav, claimed they are not in favour of losing their election symbol and party flag.
Mulayam had to remind the workers of the Lok Sabha debacle last year and the need to stop (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi’s rise in political circles.
Party leaders are also worried about their future in the new outfit. SP, which is in power in UP, will have to give way to senior leaders of other outfits in Rajya Sabha elections in 2016.
“Who will oppose if Rabri Devi’s name is moved for Rajya Sabha from UP? It will cost one seat which would have gone to our party worker,” a leader said on the condition of anonymity.
Adjustment of leaders from other outfits like Suresh Niranjan Bhaiyya of JD(U) and Ashok Singh of RJD — both of them head state unit of their party — is already being discussed in SP office.
SP’s state spokesperson Rajendra Choudhary, however, calls these issues as “mere rumours”.
“All these talks are baseless. Everything will be settled and Mulayam has all the authority to take decisions,” he said.
Presently, Mulayam has announced the unification of Janata Parivar comprising SP, RLD, INLD, JD(S), JD(U), and SJP.