After warming up to NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Mulayam Singh Yadav, in a bid to put more pressure on the Congress, said on Wednesday that he is not averse to doing business with the BJP. But, he added, provided it gives up its anti-Muslim agenda.
“In fact, we had given an open offer to Atal Bihari Vajpayee to join us and we are willing to repeat the same offer to LK Advani or any other senior BJP leader,” Yadav told reporters.
“However, for that to happen the senior BJP leaders would have to drop their demand for abrogation of Article 370, shed their anti-Muslim approach and give up the temple agenda. All those who are willing to do that are welcome.”
But BJP chief Rajnath Singh ruled out the possibility of any pre-or-post-poll alliance with the SP, and said this was “a deep-rooted conspiracy”.
The SP chief’s views on the BJP, which he has expressed in the past, including the 2004 general elections, are likely evoke a sharp response from the Congress, as well as give UP’s ruling BSP a new issue against him.
His remarks are being interpreted as a ploy to send a signal to the Congress that the SP is willing to look elsewhere in case the seat sharing with the ruling party at the Centre did not work out.
Both parties have failed to announce any seat-sharing formula despite months of hectic consultations. The SP does not appear to be willing to part with more than 15 seats, while the Congress is not ready to come down from 25 seats.
Another u-turn by the SP chief clarifying his statement on BJP cannot be ruled out in the near future, given his dependance on the sizeable Muslim population in the state. Yadav banks on the Muslim-Yadav combination for electoral success.