Samajwadi Party chief, Mulayam Singh Yadav has a dream. He believes he can become king from being just the kingmaker. The main drawback to becoming India’s prime minister is that the SP remains a regional party from the cowbelt, despite having 37 MPs in 2004 and 22 MPs in 2009, besides being the third biggest party in terms of the number of MPs.
Mulayam’s national strategy was first evident when he chose to give the reins of power to his son, Akhilesh Yadav after winning the Uttar Pradesh state elections in 2011. To establish party’s roots in other states, Mulayam named Munawar Hasan as a Rajya Sabha member from Madhya Pradesh and Kironmoy Nanda—who was a minister in the Left Front government in West Bengal—as an MP from the state despite fierce opposition within the party, since neither had any role in winning the 2102 assembly elections.
However, during inter party discussions, Mulayam has often pointed out that Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan are geographically contiguous to UP and have almost identical socio economic conditions to enable the SP to extend its footprint. He has been inviting party leaders from Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal to discuss expansion plans. They have been asked to explore the possibility of alliances with non–Congress and non-BJP parties, and select potential candidates to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The SP leadership is even actively considering contesting the Gujarat Assembly polls in 2013 hoping to cash on its minority-friendly tag.
Mulayam has cozied up to the Communists in a big way on the coal blocks allocation scandal. Though he let TMC chief Mamata Banerjee down on the presidential election by supporting the Congress on Pranab Mukherjee’s candidature, he still retains a good personal equation with her, and will be holding SP’s national executive in Kolkata. Son and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav is scheduled to meet Mamata and discuss his party’s political plans in West Bengal. The Kolkota conclave is aimed to assuage Didi’s apprehensions on SP’s proximity with the Congress and the Communists–two parties she is hostile to.
SP’s two day national executive will be its major political exercise after it formed the government about six months back. Meawnhile, Mulayam has been reviewing ministerial performance keeping in mind the national impact of their shenanigans. Senior leaders including Mohammad Azam Khan, Ram Gopal, Shivpal and others have confirmed their participation for the brain storming session of the party. “The meeting would focus on its expansion plans for a pan-India appeal and forge alliances with non Congress and non BJP political parties to emerge as a leader of the Third Front,” says a Samajwadi leader. Mulayam has been on record reiterating that the 2014 elections would be dominated by regional forces and his party would play a crucial role in the formation of the next government.
The SP leadership, realising that the popular image of the Congress has taken a heavy beating, thanks to endless scams and scandals, feels its time for Mulayam to claim his place in the sun.