Bihar polls: Mulayam’s SP quits Janata Parivar, to contest independently

NEW DELHI (TIP): Jolting the Nitish Kumar-led grand alliance in Bihar, the Samajwadi Party walked out of the fold on September 3 saying it had been “insulted” by the offer of only five seats against its demand for 12 in the assembly elections in the state. To the delight of the BJP, SP general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav told reporters in Lucknow that the party would contest independently in Bihar and “jitna woh de rahe thai, ussey zyada jeetenge (will win more than what was being offered)”. As the desertion in Bihar raised the larger question whether the Janata Parivar would put up a united fight in Uttar Pradesh when it votes in 2017, JD (U) president Sharad Yadav announced that the SP would be won back and kept on board. Earlier, Ram Gopal Yadav told reporters: “When we are contesting alone, there is no question of a Janata Parivar. It is buried now. In fact, it never came into existence. I knew from the beginning that such a thing will happen in Bihar. I refused to sign on the death warrant of our party. No more Janata Parivar now.”

But Sharad Yadav said his association with SP chief Mulayam Singh went back many years and he would find a “solution”. “We are very old colleagues… I have to talk to Mulayam Singhji… I have spoken to him once, I will talk to him again. We will resolve this finally… let me tell you, our alliance will stay… I will not go into details but let me assure you it will not damage our alliance,” the JD(U) chief said.

When a reporter suggested that the SP action may have had something to do with Mulayam Singh’s recent meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that of Ram Gopal Yadav with BJP chief Amit Shah, Sharad Yadav said, “This angle is not correct. Mulayam Singh Yadav is not someone new… He has impeccable secular credentials. There was a time when he was called Maulana Mulayam. Political leaders keep meeting one another. Even I meet leaders of many parties. Does it mean I am working in tandem with them?” That the SP, never a big player in Bihar, was not happy with the number of seats being offered by the JD(U) and RJD was evident when Mulayam Singh skipped the August 30 rally of the alliance in Patna.

He had also not figured in any of the alliance posters in the state. Bihar SP chief Ramchandra Singh Yadav said: “Our leader was constantly ignored. He was the one who played an important role in formation of the Janta Parivar and in the projection of Nitish Kumar as CM nominee. But we were given a raw deal in seat sharing.

The SP was not given any seat in the first seat-sharing arrangement. It was only after we protested that we were offered five seats.” The NCP has already walked out of the alliance in Bihar. Its leader Tariq Anwar said they have been exploring the option of a new front with SP and other parties. Sources said Pappu Yadav’s Jan Adhikar Party may be part of this front if it fails to strike a poll pact with the BJP. The SP, which contested 170 seats in the last Bihar assembly elections, could not win a single seat. It had won three seats in the 2005 polls. Sources said the party may decide to contest 40-50 seats this time, mostly in districts bordering Uttar Pradesh. In Lucknow, Ram Gopal Yadav said: “The bigger constituents did not follow the decorum of an alliance. We learnt from the media about the five seats being offered. We are feeling insulted. So, keeping in mind the feelings of our workers, we are going to contest the Bihar assembly polls alone.” He denied the suggestion that the SP decision would help the BJP in Bihar by splitting “secular” votes. “If this was the case, why did the BJP win in MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh? There was no other party there except the BJP and Congress. This argument has no basis,” he said.

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