Samata Party

The Samata Party (SAP) is a political party in India, initially formed in 1994 by George Fernandes and Nitish Kumar, now led by Uday Mandal its National President.[2] Samata Party once launched Nitish Kumar as the Chief Minister of Bihar.[3] It was an offshoot of the Janata Dal, with the alleged casteism of the parent party being the reason given for the split.[4] The party has socialist leanings, and at one point wielded considerable political and social influence in North India, particularly in Bihar. In 2003 most Samata Party members joined Janata Dal (United). Only a faction led by MP Brahmanand Mandal remained in the Samata party and continued to use the party name and symbols.[5][6]

Samata Party
PresidentUday Mandal [1]
FounderGeorge Fernandes and Nitish Kumar
Split fromJanata Dal
ECI StatusRegistered Unrecognised Party
AllianceNational Democratic Alliance(1996 - 2003)
Seats in Lok Sabha
0 / 543
Seats in Rajya Sabha
0 / 245


In the general elections of 1996, the Samata Party formed an alliance with the Bharatiya Janta Party and won eight seats, six of which were in Bihar and one each in Uttar Pradesh and Odisha. Before the election, the party was largely rooted only in Bihar. In the 1998 general elections, again in alliance with Bharatiya Janta Party, it won twelve seats, ten from Bihar and two from Uttar Pradesh.

In March 2000, Nitish Kumar was elected leader of the NDA for Chief Minister of Bihar post. On 3 March, he, sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the first time at the behest of the Vajpayee Government in the center. NDA and allies had 151 MLA whereas Lalu Prasad Yadav had 159 MLA in the 324-member house. Both alliances were less than the majority mark, 163. Nithish resigned because he could not prove his numbers in the house.[7][8]

Radhabinod Koijam became the second chief minister from Samata Party when was sworn in as Chief Minister of Manipur on 15 February 2001.[9] The government was however, short-lived. The coalition he was leading fell in May the same year.[10][11]

In the 1999 Loksabha election, Samata Party was in an informal alliance with the Lok Shakti and the Janata Dal(U). A proposal to merge the three into a single party was called off in January 2000 by George Fernandes who said the party would contest in the 2000 Bihar Legislative Assembly election on its own.[12]

2003 Split and merger with JD (U)

In October 2003, George Fernandes, the president of the Samata Party, announced that the party would be completely merging with the Janata Dal (United).[13] The Janata Dal (United) was part of the ruling coalition in the National Democratic Alliance.

Samata Party Member of parliament (Lok Sabha) Brahmanand Mandal was opposed to the merger split with the other members. Mandal was the leader of the minority faction opposing the merger. Since all the members did not support the official merge, and Brahmanand's faction challenged the merger of the party in front of ECI, the merger wasn't officially recognized by the Election Commission of India. The Election Commission of India decided that the merger was not technically complete and so a faction was allowed to function under the Samata Party name.[6]

Party leader Sharad Yadav, said that the ECI decision would have no effect on his merger plans as all candidates of Samata Party would be contesting the upcoming 2004 Lok Sabha election as candidate of Janata Dal United on the election symbol of Arrow.[5]

Most members of the party merged with JDU as proposed however a small faction of Samata Party continued using the name Samata party under the leadership of Brahmanand Mandal.[14]

Samata Party after 2004

In the 2009 general elections for the 14th Lok Sabha (2009-2014), it had contested in 11 seats and was defeated in all of them. It had secured a total of 31324 votes which was only 0.02 percent of the total number of votes cast in that state.[15]

For the Lok Sabha elections of 2014, the Samata Party decided to forgo any alliance, stating that it would not ally with the Congress.[16]


The party follows the socialist ideology, in particular that of Ram Manohar Lohia.[17]

Electoral Performances

Lok Sabha (Lower House)

Lok Sabha Term Indian
General Election
% of
% of votes in
seats contested
11th Lok Sabha 1996 81 8 72,56,086 2.2%
12th Lok Sabha 1998 57 12 64,91,639 1.8%
14th Lok Sabha 2004 40 0 2,01,276 0.1%
15th Lok Sabha 2009 11 0 0.0%
16th Lok Sabha 2014 10 0 0.0%

Vidhan Sabha (Lower House)

Vidhan Sabha Term State
% of
Party Votes
11th Assembly Bihar 1995 310 7 24,40,275 7.1%
12th Assembly Bihar 2000 120 34 32,05,746 8.7%
7th Assembly Manipur 1995 23 2 70,887 6.2%
8th Assembly Manipur 2000 36 1 84,215 6.7%
9th Assembly Manipur 2005 31 3 1,09,912 8.3%
Nagaland 2003 4 1 10,456 1.2%

List of Chief Ministers

No Name
Term of office Tenure length Party State Assembly
1 Nitish Kumar 3 March 2000 10 March 2000 7 days Samata Party Bihar 12th Assembly
2 Radhabinod Koijam 15 February 2001 1 June 2001 106 days Samata Party Manipur 8th Assembly

Symbol crisis

The Election Commission of India allotted the "Flaming Torch" symbol to the party. The Samata Party complained to Election Commission of India,[18] after which Uday Mandal, president of the Samata Party, filed a case in the Delhi High Court.[19][20] The symbol was reserved for the Samata Party when it became an unrecognized party in 2004. The ECI freed the symbol and allotted it to Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray).[21] Delhi High Court rejects plea against Flaming Torch election symbol to Sena Faction.[22][23]

See also


  1. ^ "Dispute over new symbol of Uddhav Shiv Sena, Samata Party files complaint". 12 October 2022.
  2. ^ "Delhi HC dismisses Samata Party plea against 'flaming torch' symbol allotment". The Indian Express. 19 October 2022. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  3. ^ "'Flaming Torch' Election Symbol: A Look Back At Samata Party And Nitish Kumar's Ascension To Bihar CM". 19 October 2022. Retrieved 4 November 2022. {{cite web}}: External link in |website= (help)
  4. ^ "Samata Party". Indian Elections. Archived from the original on 1 June 2004.
  5. ^ a b "BBCHindi". Retrieved 27 May 2022.
  6. ^ a b "EC rejects merger of JD-U, Samata Party". 20 March 2004. Retrieved 1 October 2022.
  7. ^ Kumar, Abhay (24 November 2019). "March 2000: When Nitish quit as CM, before floor test". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  8. ^ Dasgupta, Swapan (20 March 2000). "Nitish Kumar's government in Bihar not outvoted as much as outmanoeuvred by Laloo Yadav". India Today. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  9. ^ "Koijam sworn in Manipur CM". Rediff. PTI. 15 February 2001. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  10. ^ Himal South Asian-August-2000 Archived 7 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Message from Manipur". The Tribune. Chandigarh, India. 2 June 2001. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  12. ^ "Samata Party breaks away from JD (U)". Rediff. UNI. 6 January 2000. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  13. ^ Gargi Parsai (31 October 2003). "Fernandes to head Janata Dal (United)". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 4 February 2012.
  14. ^ "EC recognises old Samata Party"[Usurped!], The Hindu (Sunday, 21 March 2004)
  15. ^ "PERFORMANCE OF GENERAL ELECTIONS - INDIA, 2009 - REGISTERED (UNRECOGNISED) PARTIES & INDEPENDENTS" (PDF). Election Commission of India. 2009. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 September 2012.
  16. ^ "कांग्रेस से गठबंधन नहीं करेगी समता पार्टी 10237767". Archived from the original on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  17. ^ "Samata Party". Samata Party. Archived from the original on 17 June 2013. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  18. ^ "Dispute over new symbol of Uddhav Shiv Sena, Samata Party files complaint". Hindustan Times. 12 October 2022. Retrieved 16 October 2022.
  19. ^ "Samata Party to move Delhi HC against Thackeray faction's 'flaming torch'". Hindustan Times. 14 October 2022. Retrieved 16 October 2022.
  20. ^ Sharma, Unnati (15 October 2022). "Samata Party moves Delhi HC against mashaal symbol for Uddhav Sena, claims it as own". ThePrint. Retrieved 16 October 2022.
  21. ^ "ठाकरे गटाच्या चिन्हाला आव्हान; दिल्ली उच्च न्यायालयात याचिका". LOKMAT (in Marathi). 15 October 2022. Retrieved 16 October 2022.
  22. ^ "Delhi HC rejects Samata Party's plea challenging ECI's allotment of 'Flaming Torch' to Thackeray faction". ANI News. Retrieved 19 October 2022.
  23. ^ "Delhi HC Rejects Plea by Samata Party Against Flaming Torch Election Symbol to Sena Faction". News18. 19 October 2022. Retrieved 19 October 2022.