Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)) is a centre-left Indian political party with political presence mainly in Bihar and Jharkhand. The Janata Dal (United) was formed with the merger of the Sharad Yadav faction of the Janata Dal, the Lokshakti Party and the Samta Party on 30 October 2003. Janata Dal (United)'s party mentor and patron is the veteran socialist leader George Fernandes.
The Janata Dal (United)'s origins go back to before the 1999 General Election. A faction led by then Chief Minister of Karnataka J. H. Patel had lent support to the National Democratic Alliance, leading to the split in the Janata Dal leading to the formation of Janata Dal (Secular) under H. D. Deve Gowda, who wanted to remain equidistant from both national parties; and Janata Dal under Sharad Yadav.
The Janata Dal (United) was formed with the merger of the Sharad Yadav faction of the Janata Dal, the Lokshakti Party and the Samata Party. On 30 October 2003, the Samata Party led by George Fernandes and Nitish Kumar merged with the Janata Dal. The merged entity was called Janata Dal (United) with the arrow symbol of Janata Dal (United) and the green and white flag of the Samata Party. The uniting force is believed to be common opposition to Rashtriya Janata Dal in Bihar especially after the RJD welcomed Samata Party rebels like Raghunath Jha into the party.
The JD(U) along with its alliance partner, the BJP defeated the RJD-led UPA government in Bihar in November 2005. The government is headed by JD(U) leader, Nitish Kumar and they continued to govern state. The alliance contested Indian general election, 2009 and won 32 seats. BJP won 12 while JD(U) won 20. JD(U) won 115 and BJP won 91 seats in Bihar Legislative Assembly election, 2010. Thus together holding 206 seats in 243 member Bihar Legislative Assembly.
Janata Dal (United) broke its 17 years old alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party in Bihar in protest against the elevation of Narendra Modi as a head of election campaign committee of BJP for Indian general election, 2014. JD(U) President Sharad Yadav and then Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced their end of coalition at a press conference on 16 June 2013, exactly a week after Narendra Modi was made the BJP's campaign committee chairman, who was later made the prime ministerial candidate of NDA. Just after this split, Sharad Yadav relinquished his position as the NDA convenor. The JD(U) contested the election in Bihar in an alliance with the Communist Party of India but they won only two seats out of total forty seats of Bihar while the BJP-LJP alliance won 31 seats. Following poor performance in election, Nitish Kumar resigned as Chief Minister of Bihar and Jitan Ram Manjhi sworn in as a new Chief Minister. When the trust vote was demanded by the BJP to prove majority in Bihar Legislative Assembly, the RJD supported the JD(U) in the assembly on 23 May 2014 to pass the majority mark.
On 29 December 2014, Kerala-based Socialist Janata (Democratic) merged with the JD(U) with its leader M.P. Veerendra Kumar accepting the party flag from JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar. This was an important milestone in bring a pan-Indian appeal to the JD(U which is largely limited to the state of Bihar.
On 14 April 2015, the JD(U), Janata Dal (Secular), Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Indian National Lok Dal, Samajwadi Party, and Samajwadi Janata Party announced that they would merge into a new national Janata Parivar alliance in order to oppose the BJP, thus leaving the UPA but this could not happen for some reasons and then the Samajwadi party was offered 3 seats out of 243 assembly seats in Bihar elections which caused it to leave the alliance and fight separately. On 9 May, MLA Jitan Ram Manjhi was expelled from the JD(U) and founded the Hindustani Awam Morcha along with 17 other dissent JD(U) MLAs.
In the Bihar Legislative Assembly election, 2015 JD(U) contested the election in an alliance with the RJD and Congress. It won 71 seats out of the 101 seats it contested and the alliance won 178 seats out the 243 seats in the assembly. Subsequently, Nitish Kumar again became the Chief Minister of Bihar.
In the biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha to be held in March 2016, the ruling UDF of Kerala state gave one seat to JD(U) Kerala State Unit President M.P. Veerendra Kumar. In spite of having just 2 MLAs in the Legislative Assembly, the Congress gave a berth to its ally.Sharad Yadav, Party Leader in Rajya Sabha.K.C. Tyagi, Secretary General & National Spokesperson of Janata Dal (United) Party.Nitish Kumar, President of Janata Dal (United) & Chief Minister of Bihar.Nitish Kumar:First term: 3 March 2000 to 10 March 2000Second term: 24 November 2005 to 26 November 2010Third term: 26 November 2010 to 20 May 2014Fourth term: 22 February 2015 to 20 November 2015Fifth term: 20 November 2015 to IncumbentJitan Ram Manjhi (former member):First term: 20 May 2014 to 22 February 2015