BJP doubts 'Janata Parivar' merger

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Patna, Jan 15: Amid talks of the merger of old Janata Parivar splinter parties, BJP on Thursday expressed doubt over the unification and hinted at siding with Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi in the power tussle with Nitish Kumar.

"The contradictory assertions of senior leaders in the last one week is enough to say the merger is not possible," senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi told reporters.

BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi

Modi was hinting at assertions of JD(U) President Sharad Yadav on January 13 that initially RJD and JD(U) might merge in view of the Bihar Assembly elections and rest would follow in time.

But, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad had shot it down saying it would be a merger of all six parties and not only two. Even as leaders of JD(U), RJD, INLD, SP and SJP mingled with each other and attended Makar Sankranti feasts of state JD(U) President Basistha Narayan Singh as well as Lalu Prasad yesterday, there was no announcement of merger as expected.

Sushil Modi, who served as deputy chief minister in the NDA rule, claimed 90 per cent of leaders and workers of JD(U) were not in favour of the merger out of fear that Lalu Prasad would have a dominant presence in the combined party.

"Earth has slipped under the feet of Nitish Kumar who has been reduced to a minnow by Lalu Prasad," the senior BJP leader said at the Makar Sankranti feast hosted by him.

Pointing to the power tussle between Nitish Kumar and Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, the senior BJP leader spoke in favour of the latter.

On a question that would BJP support Manjhi in case Nitish Kumar toppled him, Sushil Modi said "All options are open."

"Jitan Manjhi has served as a minister in the governments of Congress, RJD and now JD(U)... he can be a minister in the BJP government as well," Modi, flanked by state party President Mangal Pandey, said.

PTI

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