The short-lived camaraderie between Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mamata Banerjee came to its abrupt end on Friday, with the SP doing a complete U-turn on the Presidential stakes after the Congress announced finance minister Pranab Mukherjee’s candidature for the post.
Mulayam’s political calculations and temperament have never been in alignment with the mercurial Mamata.
For one, Mulayam is not keen on mid-term poll and wants his son's newly-elected government in UP to do well with the help of a friendly government at the Centre. “Banerjee might have her own plans, but SP does not want to force a mid-term election at this stage,” said a senior member of the SP think tank.
The “MM alliance” barely lasted 48 hours, with the SP claiming Yadav had neither made commitments nor endorsed Banerjee’s views.
Back-channel talks between the Congress and SP continued throughout Thursday and Friday, with at least five rounds of meetings having been held.
Sources said Yadav softened after Thursday night’s telephonic call from a senior Congress managers.
Shortly after Mukherjee's candidature was announced, Mulayam described him as an experienced, honest, intelligent and a capable person. “We support him,” he said in Lucknow.