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'First step towards opposition unity': Sharad Yadav merges LJD with Lalu Prasad's RJD

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Patna, Mar 20: Former Union Minister Sharad Yadav has merged his Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), 25 years after parting his way with Lalu Prasad Yadav.

Sharad Yadav

"Merger of our party with RJD is first step towards opposition unity. It's imperative that whole opposition gets united across India to defeat BJP. As of now, unification is our priority, it'll be only after that we would think about who'll lead the united opposition, " said Sharad Yadav after the merger.

Opposition parties should join hands nationwide to take on the BJP, he said. "This step (merger) has been necessitated as an initiative of his regular efforts for bringing together scattered Janata parivar in view of the current political situation in the country," he had earlier said in a statement, claiming the BJP government has been a failure and people are looking for a strong opposition.

"The decision (merging of LJD into RJD) taken by Sharad Yadav was the demand of the people. It has given a message to other opposition parties that it's high time, we should have united in 2019 but better late than never," said RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav.

Sharad Yadav (74) had been keeping low after battling health issues for months, and the development is seen as an effort to rehabilitate his colleagues and other associates as his party LJD could never become a serious force after being launched following his separation with JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

He had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha election on the RJD ticket while his daughter had fought the 2020 Bihar assembly poll as a nominee of the Congress, then an RJD ally.

The merger marks his coming together with Lalu Prasad Yadav after more than three decades with both leaders seen to be at a fag end of their political career.

Lalu Prasad Yadav had quit Janata Dal in 1997 to form his party over differences with its leadership as the probe against fodder scam, in which he was a main accused, gathered pace. Sharad Yadav was then seen as his rival within the Janata Dal, and he later joined hands with Nitish Kumar to end RJD's 15-year reign in Bihar in 2005.

Sharad Yadav was, however, also seen as a key votary for the JD(U) -RJD alliance in the 2015 assembly polls in Bihar against the BJP, and he later parted ways with Kumar over his decision to ally with the BJP again.

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