Former Union minister and socialist leader Sharad Yadav merged his party Loktantrik Janata Dal with Rashtriya Janata Dal on Sunday, pitching for unity in opposition ranks to take on the BJP. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav welcomed the veteran leader, who had fought some of the keenest Lok Sabha poll battles against his father Lalu Prasad Yadav in the 1990s, into his party’s fold, saying that it is a message for the anti-BJP parties to unite to take on the ruling dispensation.
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.
Unity of opposition parties is his priority, Sharad Yadav told reporters here, while lauding Tejashwi Yadav for leading the fight against the BJP-led NDA in Bihar. 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 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.
With inputs from News18