ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Reunified 'Janata Parivar'-Now What?

The legacy of Ram Manohar Lohia suggests a programme for the reunified Janata Parivar.

The much-awaited merger of the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Janata Dal (Secular)—(JD–S), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Janata Dal (United)—(JD–U), the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), and the Samajwadi Janata Party (SJP) was announced on 15 April, but without a name, a party symbol or a flag, let alone policy and programme. The only thing they have so far managed to agree upon is that Mulayam Singh Yadav, the SP patriarch, will be the president of the new party. One might well ask: What has girded these parties to decide to merge into one entity? It was the severe setback these outfits—collectively dubbed the Janata Parivar—suffered in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, especially the bitter reality that the SP could garner a mere five of the 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh (UP); the RJD and JD(U), acrimonious rivals then, could secure a paltry five of the 40 seats in Bihar; and the JD(S), the INLD and SJP met with a similar or worse fate in their respective areas of influence; all these electoral reverses prompted them to explore the possibility of a merger.

The drubbing at the hands of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—itself a creation of the erstwhile Jan Sangh “infiltrators” of the original Janata Party—may have persuaded the six components of the Janata Parivar to come together, but to unite without a common policy and programme is a sure sign that for these entities electoral arithmetic is the be-all and end-all of their politics. Hence, the first taste of the pudding will be the Bihar assembly elections later this year when the Janata Parivar hopes the new party will successfully take on the BJP. Sadly though, as electoral arithmetic is all that seems to matter, the RJD and the JD(U) have already started squabbling over the matter of seat shares.

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