NEW DELHI: Even as the Congress brushed aside as an internal wrangling within the Janata Parivar the decision of Mulayam Singh Yadav to get his Samajwadi Party out of the grand alliance for Bihar elections, JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav and RJD chief Lalu Prasad had a tough time on Friday trying to convince him to stay put. And, Mulayam refused to budge.
“Talking, talking, talking,” is all that Sharad said after the meeting. That it was taking all their political might and skill to
undo the damage the breakup news had created, was quite evident from their tense expression.
It is not new for Mulayam. He has taken sharp U-turns many times in his political career. But this time, the Janata Parivar merger was as much his initiative as it was Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s. It was Mulayam who had persuaded a sulking Lalu to back Nitish as Chief Minister and save the alliance. It was at his residence that the Janata Parivar merger plan was announced.
But what neither he nor the Bihar Mandal-satraps had factored in was the resistance the move would invite within Mulayam’s family. Neither his brother Shivpal Yadav (a minister in UP Cabinet) nor his cousin Ram Gopal Yadav (who as the party general secretary controls the cadre roster and party funds) was amused.
Not to mention the other tricky issues, such as pending DA cases and CBI probes.
On record, the breakup was over the “insult” meted out to the SP by the alliance partners, Nitish-Lalu, who offered the SP just five seats and allotted the Congress 40 seats. After the hour-long meeting, Sharad said, “Everything will be settled.”
But the SP chief said nothing.
Sharad also wished away suggestions that the SP was “playing into the hands of the BJP”, a speculation that gained ground after Mulayam met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ram Gopal Yadav reportedly met BJP chief Amit Shah on Monday.