Mulayam plays hide and seek

Although he expects to reap rich electoral dividends by keeping his ‘Yadav-Muslim’ vote bank intact in the next Lok Sabha elections in 2014 and emerge as the most powerful regional ‘satrap’, Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, a ‘wily’ politician as he is, chooses not to bare much on the possibility of reviving and leading a third front.

Though Mulayam has been dropping enough hints that he was all for such a front comprising non-Congress and non-BJP parties and that the Congress and the BJP are going to fare badly in the next general elections, all he would say on record was that any such front could only come into existence after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
“There is no chance of a third front before the 2014 polls...it may be formed after the results are out and we know where one stands,” Mulayam said while speaking to Deccan Herald.

The SP supreme does not find anything wrong in continuing support to the UPA government and at the same time talking of an alternative front that excluded the Congress.

“We have extended support to the UPA only to keep the communal forces away from power…we will continue to oppose what we think is not in the interest of the people and we have no alliance with the Congress,” Yadav said.

Mulayam’s advocacy of the ‘non-existent’ third front was a marked departure from his earlier statements when he had summarily rejected the idea of a third front, comprising non-Congress and non-BJP parties, forming the next government at the Centre. Barely a few months back, Mulayam had said that it was ‘premature’ to talk about the third front.

In the later days, however, the SP chief clearly indicated that he was nurturing bigger ambition and was all for the revival of the third force though he did not make it clear which were the parties who could be part of such a front if and when it was revived.

“Neither the Congress nor the BJP will be able to form government after the next general elections....parties other than Congress and BJP are likely to do well in the next Lok Sabha elections...in many states, these parties will do well,” he said, at a meeting of the party leaders here a few days back.

While Mulayam refuses to elaborate on his future plans, especially in the run up to the next general elections, his party leaders feel that the SP supremo ‘stands a realistic chance of becoming the next Prime Minister’.

The SP leaders said that Mulayam told them that the SP could play a crucial role in government formation or even form a government led by it if it was able to secure around 60 seats in the 2014 general elections from the state.

A senior SP leader told Deccan Herald here on Sunday that Mulayam was in ‘regular touch’ with regional parties. “There are many regional satraps like Trinamool Congress, Telugu Desam Party, AIADMK, JD (U), Biju Janata Dal, who could come together and form a government at the Centre if they had the required numbers,” the leader said.

The SP leader pointed out that keeping this in mind, Mulayam had coined the slogan ‘Lakshya (mission) 2014’. “He has been telling the party workers that he may well become the next Prime Minister in case the third front forms a government and the SP has the largest number of MPs,” he went on to add.

The leaders, however, also say that past experience has shown that the job is not easy.

“The SP will have to choose between Mamata and the Left Front…also there are too many aspirants for the post of the Prime Minister in the parties which are likely to comprise such a front,” he said. And they also admit that winning 60 out of the 80 seats in the state would certainly be ‘very difficult’ if not impossible.

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