In a homecoming, Socialist Janata (Democratic) Party headed former Union Minister M P Veerendra Kumar today decided to merge with Janata Dal (United) and a formal announcement in this regard will be made in Kerala soon. Kumar’s party is currently a constituent of the United Democratic Front headed by Congress in the southern state.
He was a Union Minister in the United Front government after being elected to Lok Sabha in 1996 on Janata Dal ticket. Kumar was in Janata Dal (Secular) headed by former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda from 1999 to 2010, when Janata Dal had broken into many factions after some of its leaders decided to join hands with BJPled NDA at the Centre.
The Kerala leader parted ways from the JD(S) and formed Socialist Janata (Democratic) Party on August 7, 2010. Welcoming the coming together of the two parties, JD(U) President Sharad Yadav said that Kumar, who had worked with leaders like Ram Manohar Lohia and Jay Prakash Narayan and is even senior to him, will help strengthen the secular forces. A formal announcement about the merger of the two parties will be made in Kerala in a conference of Kumar’s party in presence of Yadav and former Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
The coming together of the two parties has happened at a time when JD(U) and its arch rival RJD, both offshoots of Janata Dal Parivar, have already joined hands to form an alliance in Bihar and efforts are on to bring on board splinter groups which are politically significant in other states.
Addressing a joint press conference in New Delhi, Yadav and Veerendra Kumar said that they have come together to strengthen secular democratic forces as they feel that there is a need to create a platform for this. I am happy that Sharad Ji and Nitish ji have wholeheartedly decided that we have to get together, he said, describing it as a happy moment for him being a socialist.
Asked whether the merger of two parties could be a prelude to parties like BJD and Samajawadi Party also coming together under an umbrella of the erstwhile Janata Dal, Yadav said, Our effort is that we bring together all those who were part of old Janata Parivar to fight the new political challenge. A joint statement by JD(U) and Socialist Janata Party (Democratic) said that both leaders discussed the joining together of socialist parties and groups in India and charting out a political course of action.
Both the leaders were convinced that socialists would come together to create an alternative platform to strengthen the secular and democratic forces. They have discussed matters including merger of both the parties…they have decided to join together and declare a political course of action at a conference to held in Kerala shortly, it said. Addressing media, Yadav said that Kumar is a very old friend and has now decided to work together with Janata Dal (United) in view of the new emerging situation before the country. Our party was very big in Kerala at one point of time…. We have decided to come together and it will ultimately result in merger, he said.
Noting that the attempt to bring together leaders of old Janata Parivar began from Bihar, Yadav said, Today we have got a new strength from Kerala. Indicating that Kumar will play a key role in Janata Parivar politics in coming days, the JD(U) chief said, He will have a big role in the coming days when the party organisation will be expanded. He has given a new strength to the party. The division of Janata Dal has led to many problems at the national level. Kumar said that he had talked to Yadav regarding these possibilities even before the Lok Sabha elections.
After the Lok Sabha polls, the political scenario has totally changed. Now the most important agenda is to strengthen the secular democratic forces. We say these things all the time but now it has become very vital to create a platform for this.
The unity drive in the erstwhile Janata Parivar is coming at a time when the Narendra Modi juggernaut has dealt a crushing blow to Janata Dal (United) in Bihar with BJP led combine winning 31 of 40 Parliamentary seats in the state. There are indications of the rise of BJP in Kerala, Assam and West Bengal, the states where the saffron party did not perform well in past.
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