SJ(D) returns to Janata fold

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:28 pm IST

Published - September 22, 2014 02:18 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Janata Dal (U) president Sharad Yadav (right) with Socialist Janata (Democratic) chief Veerendra Kumar at a joint press conference in New Delhi on Sunday.

Janata Dal (U) president Sharad Yadav (right) with Socialist Janata (Democratic) chief Veerendra Kumar at a joint press conference in New Delhi on Sunday.

There could soon be a Congress-Janata Dal (United) alliance in Kerala once M.P. Veerendra Kumar’s party, Socialist Janata (Democratic) — a constituent of the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) in the State — returns to the Janata fold.

The first step towards this was taken on Sunday when Mr. Kumar announced his decision to merge the SJ(D) with the JD(U) after a meeting with its president Sharad Yadav. The date for the merger will be finalised later by Mr. Kumar in consultation with his party workers, Mr. Yadav told the media at his residence.

As to whether the JD(U) would join the Congress-led UDF in Kerala after the merger, Mr. Yadav said: “We are already in alliance with the Congress in Bihar”; indicating that this was a non-issue. “Right now, the challenge before us is to fight the threat posed to the secular democratic fabric of India and we thought it was necessary to provide a platform for socialists to come together.”

Briefing mediapersons, Mr. Kumar — who launched the SJ(D) ahead of the 2011 Assembly elections in Kerala after breaking away from the Janata Dal (Secular) of former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda — said the effort was to get the erstwhile Janata parivar (family) together. “They may not be a force nationally but have their own pockets of influence,” he said; naming Samajwadi Party’s Mulayam Singh as a case in point.

On whether efforts would be made to bring the JD(S) also into the fold, the two leaders remained non-committal with Mr. Yadav maintaining that it was still early days. For now, the JD(U) and the SJ(D) are working on the modalities of the merger that will take place at a conference before the year-end in Kerala. Both Mr. Yadav and the former Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar, are slated to attend the conference.

The merger comes at a time when the BJP is making inroads in Kerala; a State where it has never picked up a seat either in the Assembly or in the Lok Sabha. The BJP secured 10.3 per cent of the vote share in this year’s Lok Sabha elections and is tipped to open its account in the 2016 Assembly elections.

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