PATNA: In a curious political development, three key NDA constituents, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), held a close-door meeting on Monday over lunch reportedly to discuss the issue of merger or form a new front to prove their relevance in Bihar politics.
LJP and RLSP are headed by Ram Vilas Paswan and Upendra Kushwaha, both ministers in the Narendra Modi government, whereas the newly-floated HAM is headed by Jitan Ram Manjhi.
The meeting has sparked speculations as to whether these parties are not getting due importance within Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA or is it a pressure politics amid reports that some of ministers could be dropped from the Union cabinet in view of the disastrous performance of the allies in the just-held Bihar assembly elections.
Reports said the heads of the three parties, such as Paswan, Kushwaha and Manjhi, rushed to the farm house of former minister Brishen Patel and held a secret conclave on Monday even as the BJP was busy holding its state executive meet in Patna.
Although none confirmed if they were heading towards merger or formation of a new front to provide a new alternative to the people of Bihar, they indeed dropped enough hints that something serious is taking place among them.
Patel, however, was a bit more candid. “The general demand of the masses is that all the three parties should be merged and the efforts have well begun in that direction,” Patel told the media adding they were facing losses owing to their divisions into various groups despite their ideologies and political mission being the same.
Reports said the leaders are to meet very soon again at the residence of a union minister to bring the issue forward.
The general logic behind their proposed merger plan is that their bargaining power will increase once they come together. Right now, the three parties have only five members in the Bihar assembly although they contested on 85 seats.
Of them, two seats each were won by the LJP and RLSP whereas HAM has only one member in the House in the form of Manjhi himself. Manjhi had contested from two seats but managed to win only one from Imamganj (Gaya district) defeating assembly Speaker Udai Narayan Chaudhary while he lost his home Makhdumpur seat in Jehanabad. Right now, all the three NDA constituents are battling hard for political survival.
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