Samajwadi Party forms ‘third front’

Polls to the 243-seat Assembly would be held on October 12, 16, 28, November 1 and 5. Counting of votes will take place on November 8.

Updated - November 16, 2021 04:13 pm IST

Published - September 17, 2015 03:38 pm IST - Lucknow

Days after breaking away from the Nitish Kumar-led ‘grand alliance,’ the Samajwadi Party on Thursday announced formation of a coalition along with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the National People’s Party (NPP) and Samajwadi Janata Dal (Democratic) to contest the Bihar elections as a ‘third front.’

“We will contest the polls with the SJD-D led by former Union Minister Devendra Prasad Yadav, the NCP and the NPP headed by former Lok Sabha Speaker P.A. Sangma, as a third alternative [to the grand alliance and the NDA] in Bihar,” SP national general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav told a joint press conference.

“The coordination committee of the third front will meet in Patna on Friday to decide candidates for the first phase of the polls,” Mr. Devendra Yadav said.

Forty-nine of the 243 Assembly seats will go to the polls in the first phase on October 12 and the last date for filing of nominations is September 23. The announcement came nearly a fortnight after the Mulayam Singh-led SP walked out of the JD(U)-RJD-Congress grand alliance in Bihar following differences over the number of seats. The SP, which has negligible presence in Bihar, had been given five seats by the alliance.

Former Rastriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Raghunath Jha, who formally joined the SP at the press meet, said he left Lalu Prasad’s party as he was not getting “due respect” there. “I thank Mulayam Singh for accepting me in his party,” he said.

Asked about the front’s chief ministerial candidate, Ram Gopal Yadav said it had not been decided so far.

‘Conspiracy’

About parting ways with the Nitish Kumar-led alliance, Mr. Ram Gopal said that it was not possible for the SP to merge with it and give up its identity. “I know it [alliance] was a conspiracy. Had we joined them we would have not only lost our symbol but also the party,” he said.

On the allegation of rival parties that he was helping the BJP in Bihar by splitting votes, Mr. Ram Gopal said, “In politics, such charges are made.” JD(U) MLC Munna Singh also joined the SP.

Five-phase poll

The polls will be fought in five phases between October 12 and November 5 in a high-stakes battle, seen as a major popularity test for the NDA spearheaded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and incumbent Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is in alliance with the RJD and the Congress. Votes will be counted on November 8.

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