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What did Janata Dal give to the country?

by Madhvi Bansal

The Janata Dal refers to an amalgamation of several parties which constitute the National Front. It was created by VP Singh on the birth anniversary of Jayaprakash Narayan, India’s first major opposition leader. It was a merger between the factions of the Lok Dal, the Indian national Congress (JagJivan), and the Jan Morcha. It was founded on the 11th October 1988.

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It was founded by VP Singh and consisted of a variety of parties

VP Singh had already made a name for himself in the Rajiv Gandhi administration. First he was made the External Affairs minister and he uncovered a minor scam. Exasperated by this, Rajiv transferred him to the Defence Ministry where he uncovered the major Bofors scandal, for which he was fired from the post. Therefore, he made a name for himself as someone who was strongly against corruption. Later, he decided to unite a diaspora of parties ranging from regional to national and make a united front under his leadership. This was called the National Front or the Janata Dal, and it consisted of parties like the Telugu Desam Party as well as the DMK. It was also supported by the CPI(M) and the BJP. VP Singh won the elections against Rajiv Gandhi in 1989 through this alliance. The government got toppled after he arrested Advani, a senior BJP leader for a Rath Yathra to Ayodhya. The government lost a vote of confidence and the party did not come to power again till 1996.

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It gradually got disintegrated into several smaller parties

After 1996, several leaders split away from the party and set up regional parties of their own. These parties include the JD(U) led by Nitish Kumar, RJP led by Lalu Prasad Yadav, BJD led by Biju Patnaik, and the SP led by Mulayam Singh Yadav. These parties now hold a major portion of the vote bank in their respective states. However, this has led to a weakening in their alliances at the national level, and none of these leaders are serious contenders for the top post anymore. 

So, if the Janata Dal gave us anything, it’s these regional parties.  

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