RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Sunday said the merger of Janata Parivar had already taken place and its announcement would be a mere formality. He added that six parties—SP, RJD, JD(U), JD(S), INLD and SJP— had come together to “drive out” the BJP from Bihar and the Centre.
Speaking at a high-level party meeting here, Lalu Prasad said: “Six parties have merged. Mulayam Singh Yadav will make a formal announcement about it soon. Ek jhanda, ek nishan, BJP ko bhagane ke liye maang raha Hindustan”.
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has been holding final round of talks on the merger. The new party may be called Samajwadi Janata Dal with Chakra (wheel) as its symbol.
Lalu Prasad has faced resistance to the merger from within his party because of the traditional rivalry between his Yadav support base and the Koeri-Kurmis, who are loyal to JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar.
Senior leaders like Jagdanand Singh, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav had not been in favour of the merger. Pappu Yadav, who attended Sunday’s function, looked uncomfortable on the dais.
Lalu Prasad also used the opportunity to indirectly answer Pappu Yadav’s recurrent claims of being the RJD’s chief’s successor. “It is the son who becomes the successor,” he said.
The JD(U) welcomed Lalu’s statement on the merger. The party’s national spokesperson K C Tyagi said: “Lalu Prasad is the champion of social justice. We are enthused with his merger nod talks. Nitish Kumar had been a prime mover of merger talks”. Asked if the new party would declare Nitish as the CM candidate in the next Bihar elections, Tyagi said it was a question for the future and senior leaders alone could take a call on it.
Meanwhile, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party chief and minister in the Modi Cabinet Upendra Kushwaha said in a public meeting here that the merger would result in Nitish “losing his existence”.