In a move aimed to counter the dominant Modi-wave sweeping across the nation, five opposition forces of the erstwhile 'Janata Parivar' have announced to soon become one party. This move shows that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made these political parties insecure. Hence, it will be interesting to see if union of friends-turned-foes-turned-friends will be able to counter the rising popularity of the BJP.
The leaders of Janata Dal (Secular), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Janata Dal (United), Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Samajwadi Party (SP) have authorised SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav to work out the "modalities" for becoming one party through a merger. The leaders of the six parties on Dec 4 met at Mulayam's official residence and decided to tackle their common foe i.e. the BJP.
Seeking to dispel any ambiguity as to the proposed merger, JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar said that all of them felt there should be "one party" as they have the same philosophy and principles.
When asked whether the move to join forces was borne of a 'fear of Narendra Modi', the former Bihar Chief Minister said it that not the case but the aim was to form a platform in the current political atmosphere. He said that the six parties would like to work in tandem with entities like the Left Front, which would be approached.
A force to tackle the BJP
Kumar et al may not be admitting but the sole purpose for all these leaders, who dissociated from Janata Dal to float their respective entities after Nov 1990, coming together is the continuous rise of the BJP under the leadership of Narendra Modi.
Seeking to dispel any ambiguity as to the proposed merger, Nitish Kumar said that all of them felt there should be "one party" as they have the same philosophy and principles. Notably, all these parties suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Of these six parties, some managed to bag some seats while others didn't even open their accounts.
These leaders have now realised that it is impossible for any one of them to stop the Modi-phenomena. It seems that these parties have understood that the only way to remain into existence is 'unite'. Mulayam, Lalu and Nitish will be the most powerful members of the new party for they have an influence over voters in their respective regions as compared to others.
Do these parties have the potential to stop BJP?
Now that these parties have decided to merge, an important question arises whether these parties have the strength to pose a threat to the BJP or will it be an another failed attempt?
If one talks about the type of leadership this new block will have then Mulayam and Deve Gowda are very old and the youth will not be able to connect with them. Lalu and Abhay Chautala are convicted and won't be able to represent the party for obvious reasons.
Hence, Nitish Kumar is the most capable of all the existing lot but he too has no match to Modi's aura. Not to forget, Modi's success in the Lok Sabha polls was the reason for Nitish's resignation from Bihar Chief Minister's post.
Will a party borne out of insecurity be able to counter resurgent BJP?
Coming together of these leaders at this particular juncture reflects the frustration of these parties. All these parties have similar votebank and have their particular caste equations. They also receive votes from these Muslim communities. But, the bigger entity will have work harder to expand its canvas and associate people with it.
Another big hurdle before new block will be to avoid egos and past difference at bay.
Hence, it would be interesting to see whether their union would affect BJP or will it be just a failed attempt.