But while Yadav, the Samajwadi Party National General Secretary, said it was due to "technicalities" that the merger would be pushed back, his comment drew a terse response from
JD(U) President Sharad Yadav, who said the merger had already happened.
    
The SP leader insisted that the best course of action would be for the Lalu Prasad-led RJD and Nitish Kumar's JD(U) to fight the Bihar Assembly polls -- slated for later this year -- under a seat-sharing arrangement as they will lose their party symbols if they merge now and that would cause confusions among voters.
    
"The merger is not possible before the Bihar election due to technicalities. If we merge in a hurry, it will be like signing the death warrant of my own party," the SP leader told reporters.
    
His comments are a clear signal of the unease within the Mulayam Singh Yadav-led party over the merger as many SP leaders believe that the UP-based party stands to gain nothing from an exercise aimed at consolidating the base of two Bihar-based outfits, JD(U) and RJD, before the election later this year.
    
The merger of the Janata Parivar parties was announced last month with a declaration that Mulayam will head the new entity.
    
Ram Gopal Yadav is said to be vociferous within his party against the merger of the six offshoots of the erstwhile Janata Dal, which ruled at the Centre in the late 80s and the latter half of the 90s.
    
There is talk that JD(U) President Sharad Yadav will replace him as the leader of the new party in Rajya Sabha.
    
Ramgopal Yadav's comments drew a terse response from Sharad Yadav, an enthusiastic proponent of the merger, who said that Mulayam was authorised to make announcements about the future course of the new party which, he insisted, was already formed following the merger of the six parties at a meeting on April 15.
    
"We have already merged. Please ask Mulayam Singh ji as he has been made the head of the new party and (who is) the only person authorised to make a statement," he said.

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