JD(U) was formed in 1999 with the merger of Sharad Yadav faction of Janta Dal, George Fernandes led Samta Party and Ramkrishna Hegde’s Lokshakti party. The party has presence primarily in Bihar. It also has decent presence in Jharkhand because of legacy issues (Jharkhand was part of Bihar earlier). JDU has been running a government in Bihar along with BJP since 2005 with Nitish Kumar as Chief Minister. Recently in June 2013 the party split its 17 year old alliance with BJP due to Modi’s appointment as BJP’s election campaign head. With 20 seats it is the fifth largest party in current Lok Sabha.
After wooing Congress, JDU has joined Third Front. There has been some rebellion in the party due to its decision to part ways with BJP. It has had to expel 4 of its MPs recently. Party has two main factions – Sharad Yadav & Nitish Kumar faction. Nitish is a bigger leader in the party, though Sharad is the President. Sharad has to depend on Nitish to get him elected as MP. That’s why despite a soft corner for BJP, he didn’t protest the divorce orchestrated by Nitish.
Historical Performance in Bihar (Lok Sabha)
|% of seats in Bihar||33.3%||15.0%||50.0%|
The party has done well in Bihar in alliance with BJP. In last elections, it won 50% of the total seats in Bihar.
Possibilities in Lok Sabha
Polls predict heavy losses for JDU in Bihar, 5-15 seats. Generally people are not happy with the way it broke alliance with BJP. Plus NaMo wave is strong in Bihar. Bihar has a lot of Other Backward Class (OBC) population. Nitish’s punt seems to have gone wrong with Congress also deciding not to ally with him. Frustrated he has joined Left Front. Politicalbaaba projects 10 seats for JDU. With Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party joining NDA this could further reduce.
In case BJP is in a position to form govt. and needs allies, Sharad Yadav led faction could split the party and support it.
If BJP is not in a position to form govt. and Third Front govt. chances are high, it could get some key ministries as it is one of the key protagonists of the front.