The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Samata revived to thwart rebels

New Delhi, Nov. 6: The Samata Party, which was merged with the Janata Dal (United) little more than a week ago, was resurrected today to revoke the expulsion of two MPs shortly after the rebels criticised the party’s leaders at a news conference.

Samata leaders George Fernandes, Nitish Kumar, along with Dal (U) president Sharad Yadav and minister of state for external affairs Digvijay Singh had announced the merger on October 30 and said the merged entity will retain the Dal (U)’s name and its symbol.

Fernandes today revived the Samata only to revoke the expulsions of Lok Sabha MPs Raghunath Jha and Brahmanand Mandal. No reason was given. The expulsions of Bihar legislators Ganesh Paswan and Bhai Virender were also revoked.

The move comes in the backdrop of Jha and Mandal, expelled from the Samata in May for anti-party activities, urging the Speaker and the Election Commission on Tuesday to allow them to retain the party’s name and symbol.

The two MPs also criticised the Samata leaders at a news conference, saying the reunification was effected without the approval of the national council as is mandated by the party’s constitution.

Fernandes seems to have realised belatedly that the rebels could retain the identity of the Samata in the Lok Sabha, thus defeating the very purpose of the merger. Although the party’s national executive had passed a resolution expelling them, after they fell out with Nitish Kumar, the Speaker was not informed of this. As such, the poll panel and the Speaker can recognise them as Samata members.

However, once their expulsion is revoked they become part of the merged entity and would need more supporters if they want to split the party.

Samata spokesperson Shiv Kumar claimed that the two MPs were taken into confidence before their expulsion was revoked. But sources close to the parliamentarians denied this.

Kumar said the party’s national council will meet next month to “discuss” the views of the rebels and ratify the merger. He asserted that Jha and Mandal were in the party “which has decided to merge” with the Dal (U).

Senior Dal (U) member and former Union minister Devendra Prasad Yadav had also raised a banner of revolt against the merger, saying he would take the battle to the courts. Another MP, Sashi Kumar from Karnataka, is also opposed to the merger, claimed Yadav.

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