Ajit Pauses Merger Talks, Keeps Ni­tish Guess­ing

There is noth­ing new to re­port on the merger. JD(U) seems to be do­ing all the talk­ing: RLD in­sider

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

New Delhi: The Ni­tish Kumar-led JD(U)’s pro­posed merger ef­forts with Ajit Singh-led RLD ap­pears to have hit an air pocket, with the lat­ter ev­i­dently go­ing slow on ne­go­ti­a­tions. This has given an im­pres­sion to stake­hold­ers that Singh will have to be first con­vinced about the po­lit­i­cal ben­e­fits of for­go­ing his party’s iden­tity and help­ing Kumar.

A source said that as per orig­i­nal plan, the RLD lead­er­ship was to meet on April 6 to for­mally en­dorse the merger and a JD(U) meet on April 12 was to do the same to elect Kumar as party pres­i­dent. How­ever, for unex- plained rea­sons RLD failed to hold the April 6 meet­ing, re­sult­ing in the JD(U) meet­ing lim­it­ing its agenda to elect­ing Kumar as party pres­i­dent. Singh was not avail­able when ET tried to con­tact him. How­ever, ac­cord­ing to an RLD in­sider, “there is noth­ing new to re­port on the merger. The JD(U) seems to be do­ing all the talk­ing”, in­di­cat­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions slip­ping into a ‘freezer’. In­ci­den­tally, RLD is yet to pub­licly back Kumar’s call for an ‘anti-BJP/RSS’ na­tional al­liance of Op­po­si­tion par­ties. It is be­lieved Singh had three de­mands when Kumar broached the merger pro­posal: That he be made na­tional pres­i­dent of the merged party, he get an up­com­ing Ra­jya Sabha seat from JD(U)’s Bi­har kitty of two and his son Jayant be made the chief of the UP unit of the party.

“In western UP Ajit Singh has a base and­herep­re­sentsChowd­haryCha­ran Singh’sle­gacy,where­asJD(U)isanon­starter in UP. So, it is im­por­tant that the­merg­er­should­bring­clear­ben­e­fits for RLD,” one of its leader said. In­ci­den­tally, 11 Ra­jya Sabha seats will fall va­cant in UP in July and the Congress is in a po­si­tion to win a seat or help RLD win one, some­thing which the BJP too can do. The JD(U) andKu­mar’sad­vi­sorPrashan­tKishor are­ex­pect­ed­tore­a­chout­toRLDa­gain, even as Congress too has started cold­shoul­der­ing Kumar’s call for an an­tiBJP/RSS na­tional al­liance.

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