Not only did Mulayam Singh Yadav wish PM Modi to come back to power, he also underlined and exposed the weakness of the Congress’s narrative of putting up a bold front to PM Modi’s leadership in Lok Sabha elections in communion with other parties.
New Delhi: The foxy wrestler in Samajwadi Party (SP) founder and patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav came alive on the last day of the 16th Lok Sabha on Wednesday, just ahead of the general elections. He not just took the entire Congress-led Opposition by chokeslam, but also moonsaulted his own son Akhilesh Yadav who is leading the Mahagathbandhan or grand alliance in Uttar Pradesh.
While he wished that Prime Minister Modi return for a second term, much to the bewilderment of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi who sat squirming next to him, Yadav also said something that got drowned in the jubilation of the ruling benches.
“I also wish, since we cannot get the required mandate, that Prime Minister Modi, you return as PM once again,” he said panning his hands across the Opposition benches starting with Sonia Gandhi and ending in a namaste.
Stumping Congress and Akhilesh
The falling-short-of-mandate jibe takes much wind off the Congress and Opposition’s sail. It puts Sonia and Rahul Gandhi flatly on the defensive, and will make them wary of which ‘friend’ to trust.
PM Modi, seizing the opportunity like a wildcat on the hunt, returned his gratitude to Mulayam with folded hands and a bow. Not only did he wish PM Modi to come back to power, he also underlined and exposed the weakness of the Congress’s narrative of putting up a bold front to PM Modi’s leadership in Lok Sabha elections in communion with other parties.
Before this, the senior Yadav and socialist leader from UP had thanked the chair for its bipartisanship and having wished all the members to come back again in the next Lok Sabha. While Sonia Gandhi’s discomfort was clearly visible, it would cause his son Akhilesh greater political unease.
Re-opening Maya’s wounds
Mulayam has not just thrown a spanner in the Mahagathbandhan politics of his son, this could cause much heartburn to his newfound political partner Mayawati. Mulayam has only scratched her guest-house wound open.
In 1995, an SP mob allegedly tried to kill a cornered Mayawati at the VVIP guest house in Lucknow after she withdrew her support to the then Mulayam government.
A message to Yadav voters
Meanwhile, this may act as a direct message to the Yadav voters of SP since Mulayam is still the most respected figure in the community. This “order” from him, political analysts told MyNation, could become the central excuse for many Yadav voters to spurn the Mahagathbandhan and vote for Modi.
While most of this lot comes from the stratum of educated Yadavs who Akhilesh too banks for support, the older generation of Yadav voters are where Shivpal Yadav’s support base lies. Mulayam is backing his brother Shivpal in this Yadav tussle against his son.
For the older generation, Singh’s speech could be a direct guidance to go with Shivpal. Many view Shivpal as being BJP’s B-team in UP, and this bold stand by the patriarch will only empower him further.
While it was never quite clear as to how much of the dominant OBC votebank of Yadav’s would shift their votes in favour of Mayawati’s candidates, this new factor that could divide the loyalties of Yadavs towards SP’s own candidates will only muddy the political waters further.
And if manages to bring Congress some votes than 2014 elections, it is only split the Opposition pie and help the BJP.
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Last Updated Feb 13, 2019, 7:37 PM IST