The Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD), founded by veteran socialist leader and former Union minister Sharad Yadav in 2018, merged with the Lalu Prasad Yadav-headed Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) on Sunday, 20 March, 25 years after the two leaders parted ways.
The merger is aimed at strengthening the national base of the RJD ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2024. "The merger of our party with the RJD is the first step towards opposition unity. It's imperative that whole opposition gets united across India to defeat BJP. As of now, unification is our priority, it'll be only after that we would think about who'll lead the united opposition," said Sharad Yadav to ANI news agency.
The decision (merging of LJD into RJD) taken by Sharad Yadav was the demand of the people. It has given a message to other opposition parties that it's high time, we should have united in 2019 but better late than never.RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav
Recently, Yadav had told the media that it was essential to bring all the scattered "Janata parivar together to oust the BJP from power".
Bihar’s Leader of the Opposition (LoP) and senior RJD leader, Tejashwi Yadav, and RJD’s Rajya Sabha member Manoj Jha were present at the merger at Sharad Yadav’s residence in Delhi.
Sharad Yadav a ‘Father-Figure and Socialist Icon’: Tejashwi
Tejashwi, who has been at the helm of the RJD following the imprisonment of his father Lalu Prasad, has called Sharad a “father-figure and socialist icon”.
“Everyone knows the importance of veteran socialist Sharad Yadav in Indian politics. He is a father figure and would guide us,” he said recently in Patna.
Sharad Yadav had also heaped praises on Tejashwi's leadership.
"No Misa Bharti, no Tej Pratap Yadav, I strongly believe Tejashwi is the only leader who has the capacity to take the party (RJD) forward from here on.. Whatever Lalu Prasad and I did with politics in the country, Tejashwi will follow the same ideology in his political career. We have handed over our political legacy to him. He is all in the party (RJD) and he is the only one who takes decisions on behalf of the party," he had said.
In 1997, when the charges of fodder scam were levied on RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, Sharad Yadav was then seen as his rival within the Janata Dal. Lalu quit the Janata Dal to form his own party while Sharad Yadav went along with Nitish Kumar and helped him end the RJD's 15-year rule in Bihar.
After a falling out with Kumar over the JDU's return to the NDA fold in 2017, Sharad Yadav founded LJD in May 2018. Since its inception, the LJD never fought any election, with Sharad himself contesting, unsuccessfully, from Madhepura in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections on an RJD ticket. In the 2020 Bihar Assembly polls, Sharad’s daughter Suhashini Yadav contested unsuccessfully from Bihariganj seat as a Congress candidate.