18 January, 2021

Strange Bedfellows

The Samata-SJP combine looks for a poll tie-up with the BJP

Strange Bedfellows

WHEN the George Fernandes faction of the Samata Party and the Chandra Shekhar led Samajwadi Janata Party (SJP) merged, the focus was more on the personalities involved than on any likely political implications. Both parties put together have a base in only two states, Bihar and Haryana, along with a couple of pockets of rather unsure support in eastern Uttar Pradesh and their influence on national politics is limited. Yet, the 'parivartan rally' held on March 16 in Devi Lal's stronghold, Rohtak, at which the merger was announced, caught national attention. Reason: the new party, barring any last-minute hiccups, seems set to align with the BJP for the coming general elections; a realignment that may prove crucial for the latter's prospects.

But first, the parties which have decided to merge. While the new party will be registered as the Samata Party because it is recognised as a national party while the SJP is not, local leaders have been told to use either of the two names depending on which the people are familiar with. Leaders of both...



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