Realpolitik behind Amar hard talk | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Realpolitik behind Amar hard talk

Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh ought to be excused for his shenanigans. He has merely been trying to expand his party’s base in Uttar Pradesh. Not quite the most terrible of sins, is it? Srinand Jha reports.

delhi Updated: Jan 12, 2009 00:50 IST
Srinand Jha

Samajwadi Party (SP) general secretary Amar Singh ought to be excused for his shenanigans. He has merely been trying to expand his party’s base in Uttar Pradesh. Not quite the most terrible of sins, is it?

The sum and substance of Singh’s outpourings over last week was that the SP came to the rescue of the UPA government at its weakest moment after the Left pulled out support. The SP then proceeded to facilitate the India-US nuclear deal to go through and ensured the continuance of the Manmohan Singh government last July.

“In return, distrust betrayal and humiliation has come from the side of the Congress. The Congress poached four SP legislators in Madhya Pradesh, breached the ‘coalition dharma’ by accepting the support of six BSP MLAs as a measure of stabilising the Ashok Gehlot-led government in Rajasthan. It has even been persisting with efforts to persuade former Karnataka chief minister S. Bangarappa to quit the SP and return to the Congress,” Singh said at a press conference in Delhi on Sunday. He wondered if the Congress considers the SP a friend or a foe.

Singh’s self-righteousness is engineered by hard political calculations. The SP considers itself (perhaps rightly) UP’s main Opposition party and is unwilling to allow the Congress to retrieve space by piggybacking on its shoulders. The SP is still a relevant political force in the state while the Congress does not even have a political presence in several districts.

The Congress and SP are competitors in UP, vying for a chunk from the same vote bank comprising Other Backward Castes (OBCs) and minorities, with a smattering of upper castes. Is it reasonable to expect SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav to display graciousness in facilitating a Congress resurrection at the SP’s cost?

After all, the party’s main priority in the near future is to return the largest number of MPs to the next Lok Sabha.