Ahead of Parliament’s Winter session, the opposition Samajwadi Party, the Janata Dal-United, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Janta Dal-Secular on Thursday announced a united front to counter the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre.
A luncheon meeting called by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav was attended by RJD supremo Lalu Yadav, JD-U’s Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav, and Janata Dal-Secular leader HD Deve Gowda among others.
Talking to reporters after the meet, Nitish Kumar said the meeting aimed at bringing together the parties that have come out from the original Janata Dal.
“We discussed the whole political scenario. We will form a united front in Parliament. Our views are same on many issues, and we will get other like-minded parties,” the former Bihar chief minister said.
“Modiji and the BJP feel no threat from these parties. Let them keep forming any front,” BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.
The luncheon meet came months after an attempt to form a non-Congress, non-BJP front ahead of the Lok Sabha polls failed. Left parties, which were at the helm of affairs at that time, were not invited. Nitish Kumar, however, said that they will approach other parties with similar views, and Left parties are not ruled out.
The coming together of the regional players is being seen as their efforts to remain politically relevant and confront a resurgent BJP, which has had a dream run in 2014, winning first the general elections and more recently, Maharashtra and Haryana.
The forthcoming Rajya Sabha elections may have also prompted the regional parties to come out with a strategy to fight the BJP, which is likely to increase its influence in the Upper House.
Some of these parties will also be facing the voters in the forthcoming five-phased Jharkhand Assembly polls, scheduled to begin on November 25. While Jammu and Kashmir is also voting along with Jharkhand, Delhi elections are likely to be held in February.
Many of the parties attending Mulayam’s lunch on Thursday have been former BJP and Congress allies.
In the last Lok Sabha elections, the Samajwadi Party, which rules Uttar Pradesh, won just five of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state. All those seats were won by Yadav’s family members. The RJD has four seats in Lok Sabha while the JD-U and JD-S have two each.