One politician is being wooed and feted in New Delhi's power corridors: Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
On the third anniversary celebrations of the ruling alliance in Delhi on Tuesday, Mulayam was seated at the high table with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi at the dinner hosted by the PM. Earlier, Mulayam held the booklet that was released to highlight the annual achievements of the government. This was the first time since UPA-2 came to power that Mulayam and RJD chief Lalu Prasad - whose parties extend outside support to the government - were seated on the dais with UPA partners.
The SP's increasing proximity with the Congress is being interpreted in political circles as a signal to the difficult UPA partner, the Trinamool Congress. The signal is that the SP can step in to bail out the alliance should Trinamool boss Mamata Banerjee become a stumbling block.
News channel CNN-IBN reports that Mulayam Singh Yadav has reached a "deal" with the Congress and agreed to back UPA-II's Presidential candidate. The channel claims if Mulayam lends his support in the presidential poll, the UPA's strength will increase as the Samajwadi Party has a vote value of 68,000 while the Trinamool Congress has a vote value of 48,000.
At the UPA-2 dinner though Mulayam didn't reveal who he is going to support in the presidential election. Asked about his ties up with the UPA, Mulayam said, "They have given us respect."