Significantly, party spokesman P C Chacko also said that a decision on the issue of alliance with the new party in the Bihar Assembly polls scheduled by the end of the year is yet to be taken.

"It is their internal party matter. In 1991 and 96, there have been a number of experiments of coming together and again splitting," he said hinting that what had happened today was such an experiment.

He brushed aside suggestions that the unity in the Janata parivar would adversely affect the Congress, which is already not in the best of health, politically.

As regards the issue of alliance with the new party which is ruling Bihar under Nitish Kumar, he said that right now Congress is supporting the government and ahead of the Assembly elections, the AICC Committee headed by senior leader A K Antony will decide on the issue of alliance.

Replying to questions, he said that the relevance of the Antony Committee which goes into the alliances would be there as long as the politics of coalition was being practised. He said that the issue of tieups in each state needed to be decided separately as the political situation differs from state to state.

Today was perhaps the first time after the Lok Sabha polls last year, that the AICC talked about the Antony Committee. There was an impression that it was scrapped after the polls.     Six offshoots of 'Janata Parivar' today merged together to form a new party to take on a resurgent BJP, especially in the context of the upcoming Assembly elections in Bihar.

The merger of Samajwadi Party, JD(U), RJD, INLD, JD(S) and Samajwadi Janata Party comes almost two decades after the then Janata Dal disintegrated in the 90s.

SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has been chosen as the head of the new party.

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