Theoretically, the merger will consolidate 50%-65% of Bihar’s voters in favour of the new party.
NEW DELHI: The stage has been set for the merger of Janata Dal (United) and Rasthriya Janata Dal (RJD) into one party. The two-day RJD national executive, which ended on 10 October in Delhi, passed a resolution affecting the RJD’s Constitution. The said resolution authorised party president Lalu Yadav and de facto party president Tejashwi Yadav to take a decision to change the “name, poll symbol and other related issues” of the party.
RJD sources said this was not a part of the pre-decided resolutions that were discussed among the participating leaders. After this political event, which will be extremely significant in Bihar politics, Nitish Kumar, president of JDU and Bihar Chief Minister, will be appointed as the national president, paving way for the appointment of Tejashwi Yadav as the Bihar Chief Minister. This unification, according to experts, will consolidate, at least theoretically, 50-65% of the total voters in favour of this new political entity. The RJD claims to have the complete support of voters belonging to Yadavs and Muslims, both of whom together account for at least 35-40% of the total voters of Bihar.
Similarly, the JDU counts itself as a party that has a vote bank of 25-30% that comes from the EBC and the OBC community. This development, once it happens, is likely to make the challenges for the BJP even greater in the state where it is focusing to form government on its own for the first time.
Two RJD leaders, who spoke to The Sunday Guardian, did not rule out the possibility of this merger happening soon. Patna based political observers, who have known both Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar for over three decades said that this merger, whenever it happens, should be seen as a practical approach by both these leaders to stop both parties from being decimated by the BJP, a job which will become easier for the BJP when these two parties are fighting against each other.
According to party leaders of both the RJD and JDU, this merger is likely to happen by this year-end or early next year, depending on the health condition of Lalu Prasad Yadav, who is currently in Singapore to get treatment for kidney related ailments.
The elections in the state are scheduled to be held by the end of 2025. Supporters of the 71-year-old Nitish Kumar have started making efforts to project him as the common opposition Prime Minister candidate for the May 2024 general elections. After relinquishing the chair of Bihar CM in favour of the 32-year-old Tejashwi Yadav, Kumar will get more time to focus on his “larger” national plans.