Senior BJP leader LK Advani’s hint to Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav to rethink his party’s approach towards future ties and the latter’s praise of the BJP leader may create flutter, but no BJP or SP leader believes there is any realignment on the cards for both parties that confront each other in the traditional battleground of Uttar Pradesh.
Mulayam’s continued criticism of the Congress, however, gives room for BJP to believe that he could pull the plug on the UPA government, resulting in early general elections.
During the last assembly polls in UP the SP reaped the benefits of the upper caste voters shift from the BJP to the SP in many places.
But the SP is also keen on retaining its support among Muslims for whom the BJP has been an anathema since the demolition of the Babri Masjid.
This makes a BJP-SP understanding “too far-fetched”, BJP leaders say. Many BJP leaders still recall how Mulayam refused to support Sonia Gandhi as PM of an alternative government when AB Vajpayee-led NDA rule collapsed after Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK withdrew support in 1999.
Since then any bonhomie has been frowned upon by BJP leaders, particularly in UP where the failure of the saffron party to emerge as an alternative to the SP or the BSP has often been attributed to its ties with the two regional parties at some point in time.
But Advani on Wednesday seemed to reach out to Mulayam when he said that political parties should change their strategy with changing times, without “compromising” on the basic principles of the organisation. He did so by praising Mulayam’s political guru Ram Manohar Lohia.
Advani also said, “I believe that our country has been converted into a bi polar polity. No government is possible without the BJP or the Congress.”
Advani’s remark was made in the backdrop of the now-frequent rants by Mulayam against the Congress and his desire to lead a Third Front government after the next general elections.
But the SP chief displayed his annoyance over the media hype over such statements.
Yadav said, “What is a big deal if great personalities are appreciated by political leaders...I praised Advani and Advani has praised (Ram Manohar) Lohia... Praising Lohia is a very good thing....”