Merger of the Janata Parivar parties on top of their agenda, senior JD (U) leaders Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, JD (S) leader H D Deve Gowda, INLD leader Dushyant Chautala and Samajwadi Janata Party leader Kamal Morarka would meet at SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s residence in New Delhi on Thursday. This will be their second meeting to discuss the merger of their parties to unitedly fight the “resurgent” BJP.

Sources said Lalu, who initially wanted to buy more time for the merger, may have been convinced. Nitish, Mulayam, Deve Gowda and Morarka had already given their consent for the merger in the last meeting. It was only INLD and RJD that had suggested floating of a front first before these parties merge.

Mulayam is being tipped as president of the new party with least chances of opposition on his name by any leader. Lalu, who once stalled Mulayam’s chances to become PM, has been in his favour. With Lalu’s youngest daughter Raj Lakshmi set to get married to Mulayam’s grand nephew and MainpurI MP Tej Pratap Yadav, the ties between the two Yadav leaders from UP and Bihar would only get stronger.

JD (U) Rajya Sabha MP and national spokesperson K C Tyagi told The Indian Express: “Merger is definitely on our meeting agenda. Let us see how all leaders respond to the big idea and how soon it takes formal shape. Talks have been on with Laluji and hopefully the meeting will have some good outcome.”

Asked about opposition to the merger idea from a section of the RJD and JD (U) leaders, Tyagi said top leaders of both parties would take the final call after considering all aspects. He, however, said the majority opionion was for merger to have common goal to fight BJP.

Earlier, RJD vice-president and former Union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said there had been no common meeting ground between JD (U) and RJD after the Assembly bypoll campaigns. Even Nitish had to clarify that there would be no merger.

“With lot of flip-flop on the merger idea, tomorrow’s meeting will be very important in context of Bihar with Assembly polls just a year away,” said a senior JD (U) leader.

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