Will Mulayam Singh Yadav’s remarks have any bearing on the outcome of the coming election?
It is not always easy to decipher messages given by veteran politicians. Therefore, when Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday offered a ringing endorsement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for a moment nobody knew what to make of it. Soon thereafter, though, various spins were given by way of explanations by opposition leaders, primarily to suggest that the Samajwadi Party founder was merely being courteous and that nothing political need be read into his remarks.
In his party, he has been sidelined, with son and party chief Akhilesh Yadav calling the shots.
But his speech went beyond courtesies. When he wished every sitting MP to be re-elected, that was courteous. But he also said that the Prime Minister had always obliged him whenever he approached him with an issue, it was an approval. More of that came when Mulayam Singh Yadav said that Modi took everybody along and that no-one could point a finger at him. However, what took the cake was his remark that, if the Opposition failed to get a majority, he wished Modi to return as Prime Minister.
Naturally, Congress president Rahul disagreed ‘respectfully’ with the SP leader’s supportive words for the Prime Minister. Naturally, SP spokespersons were hard put on television channels to explain the statement. Naturally, the treasury bench members thumped the desk in approval over Mulayam Singh Yadav’s choice of words, and BJP spokespersons went gaga in the media, enjoying fully the SP spokespersons’ discomfort.
That said, what political import does the SP veteran’s remarks have? Only days ago, he was seen on the stage with Chandrababu Naidu who had been protesting against the Prime Minister. In his party, he has been sidelined, with son and party chief Akhilesh Yadav calling the shots. On various occasions, it looked like he would rebel against the new guard but didn’t. It was thought that he would do it after the SP suffered a rout in the 2015 Lok Sabha election. Then, it was anticipated that he would speak out against the new administrators of his party after the SP performed poorly in the 2017 Assembly election.
All through, his brother Shivpal Yadav, who too had been cut to size by the Akhilesh Yadav camp, waited hopefully for Mulayam Singh Yadav to speak out. Finally, a few months, his patience ran out and he officially severed his links with the party he had helped Mulayam Singh Yadav found, and floated his own outfit. But even then, Mulayam Singh Yadav was conspicuous by his silence. The station today is that nobody knows whether Mulayam Singh Yadav is with his son or with his brother.
The BJP too has an issue at hand. While it flaunts Mulayam Singh’s statement in Parliament, it cannot forget that until only a few days ago it was baying for his blood over the killing of Kar Sevaks.
Meanwhile, having cut himself loose from his father politically, Akhilesh Yadav has been doing everything that his father would have abhorred. For the Assembly poll, he had tied up with the Congress, and now for the Lok Sabha election, he has entered into an arrangement with the Bahujan Samaj Party. None of these decisions had attracted unequivocal support from Mulayam Singh Yadav. The senior Yadav’s endorsement of Prime Minister Modi is unlikely, in the given circumstances, be viewed with happiness. But given his stature, there is little that the bristling SP leadership can do about it.
Will Mulayam Singh Yadav’s remarks have any bearing on the outcome of the coming election? Unlikely, unless the veteran leader comes out openly against the present SP leadership and backs Shivpal Yadav. And, even if that were to happen, what of Shivpal Yadav’s posturing against the BJP and inclination to tie with the Congress? it can be argued that Shivpal Yadav is merely using the possibility as leverage to gain self-importance; the Congress has so far shown no indication of obliging him, and may not be given that it does not want to antagonise the SP-BSP combine with whom it hoped to do business post-poll results.
The BJP too has an issue at hand. While it flaunts Mulayam Singh’s statement in Parliament, it cannot forget that until only a few days ago it was baying for his blood over the killing of Kar Sevaks. Party spokespersons say that the two matters need not be mixed up, but there are those who are asking the question: What prompted the senior SP leader to back Modi for another term as Prime Minister?
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.