Bitter enmity with the Congress is a thing of the past, said Samajwadi Party (SP) chief and former UP chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, brightening the possibility of his party's support to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in pushing ahead with the India-US civil nuclear deal.
Left parties have threatened to withdraw support to the Congress-led UPA government if further steps are taken to finalise the deal. Congress is exploring the possibility of support from other parties, particularly the SP which has 39 Lok Sabha MPs. SP and its partners in the United Nationalist Progressive Alliance (UNPA) will meet in Delhi on July 3rd to discuss the issue.
Confirming an increasing proximity to the Congress, the SP chief told CNN-IBN today: “Our sour relation with the Congress is a thing of the past.” He was responding to the question whether there was still any bitterness in relations between the two sides. Asked who was his bigger enemy, the central government or the Mayawati regime in UP, Mulayam said, “In politics, there are no permanent friends or enemies.”
SP leader Amar Singh is arriving in Delhi on Sunday from a foreign tour and efforts to sew up new political alliances will intensify after that. Both Congress and Left are trying to win them over, but Mulayam and Amar have kept their cards close to chest.
Mulayam had said his party's stand will be in tune with other constituents of the UNPA, but Congress is hopeful of SP’s support should the situation arise. In the event of the Left withdrawing support to the UPA government, it will need the support of roughly 50 more MPs. If the SP pledges its 39, the Congress could pull in smaller parties to rescue the government.
Joining with Congress to isolate the Left would not be an easy political call for Mulayam, who has a long-standing friendship with the comrades. But Mulayam is clearly opening the doors for negotiations with the Congress, his bitter political rival not so long ago.