UP : The meeting is expected to be attended by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav, its general secretary K C Tyagi, JD(S) chief and former Prime Minister H D Devegowda, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, Samajwadi Janata Party chief Kamal Morarka and INLD leader Dushyant Chautala besides Mualyam Singh Yadav’s brother Ramgopal Yadav.
Nitish Kumar, a key face of the grand alliance, is set to arrive in the national capital this evening.
“We are meeting for the final announcement.Leaders of all these parties have already talked to each other and all issues have been resolved.We expect the announcement tomorrow,” Tyagi told PTI.
Sources said that after discussions, there is an agreement that the new entity will retain the cycle symbol of Samajwadi Party.
On April 5, RJD chief Lalu Prasad had given the slogan of “Ek Jhanda, Ek Nishan” (one flag, one symbol), almost announcing the merger and had dared the BJP to come to Bihar
“As far as Janata Parivar, the six parties are concerned, their merger has happened and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav will formally announce it because he has been authorised for it.
“Merger means merger.There should be no doubts about it. Only one symbol and no other shall remain because different symbols will create confusion among the public.We will also ask other secular parties to join the new party to combat communalism,” Prasad had said.
The very next day, the leaders of these off-shoot outfits of Janata Parivar had come to the national capital to pay homage to former deputy prime minister Devi Lal, a prominent leader of the grouping and Lok Dal founder, on his death anniversary.
Nitish Kumar had last month held back-to-back meetings with the Janata Parivar leaders, visiting even Tihar Jail to meet INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala.
The process of coming together of the Janata Parivar had begun soon after Lok Sabha polls, which saw the Narendra Modi juggernaut decimating JD(U) and RJD in Bihar, Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh and marginalising INLD in Haryana.
Sharad Yadav, Nitish Kumar and Mulayam’s brother Shivpal Yadav campaigned in favour of INLD in October 2014 Assembly elections to put up a united face two months after JDU and RJD joined hands to fight the assembly bye-polls in Bihar in August winning 6 of the ten seats, which indicated the potential of the combine to take on a resurgent BJP.
After a number of back channel talks and behind camera confabulations, Mulayam Singh Yadav was given the task of coordinating the merger plan and the first public indication of the plan came out in December when the SP chief hosted a lunch for leaders of these parties.
Sharad Yadav also attended SP’s convention in Lucknow in October last year fuelling speculation about the merger.
The merger, ahead of November Assembly elections in Bihar, is seen significant given that there is a new hope among opposition parties in wake of BJP’s defeat in Delhi Assembly elections where it could only manage three seats out of 70.
Mulayam Singh Yadav, whose SP has the largest number of MPs among the six in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, will be the chairman of the new umbrella entity.
SP has five members in Lok Sabha followed by RJD with four MPs while JD-U, JD(S) and INLD each has two legislators, giving the grouping a total of 15 members in the Lower House.
In Rajya Sabha, too, SP leads the pack with 15 members while JD-U has 12 and INLD, JD(S) and RJD one MP each.Their total number in the Upper House is 30.
In Parliament, Mulayam could be the leader of the new group in Lok Sabha while Sharad Yadav could be named its leader in Rajya Sabha.
While Assembly elections are due in Bihar this year end, SP-ruled Uttar Pradesh goes to polls in 2017.BJP has succeeded in making major gains in Lok Sabha polls in these two states.