The meeting between Chief Minister Mayawati and Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav at her official residence on Friday sparked wild speculation in political circles in Lucknow.
The two belong to a five-member assembly committee that met to select the chairman and members of the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC). The other members are Speaker of the Assembly Sukhdeo Rajbhar, chairman of the Upper House Sukhram Singh Yadav and Leader of the Opposition in the Upper House Ahmad Hasan. Mayawati is chairperson of the committee.
The committee appointed Supreme Court Justice (retd) H.K. Sema as the SHRC chairman. Sema was earlier chief justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. Justice (retd) Vishnu Sahai and Asha Tiwari, wife of Ashok Kumar, were appointed members as well.
The visit is considered momentous because Yadav met Mayawati at her official residence after 13 years. With this, Mayawati is seen as having scoring a point over her archrival.
Delhi takes notice too
The Lucknow meeting created a stir in Delhi as well. Several leaders do not see the interaction as an isolated incident but as part of the political churning that is expected to gather pace ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. The move is surprising since it comes in the backdrop of a thaw in relations between the Congress and Samajwadi Party following the BSP’s victory in UP.
SP general secretary Amar Singh played down the meeting saying, “It was a constitutional requirement. It was mandatory for the Leader of Opposition and CM to meet.”
But, according to a Congress leader, “The meeting is not as innocent as it would appear.” A UPA leader added: “In going for the meeting, Mulayam is perhaps trying to signal that the SP is not against Dalits and that if the BSP wants to fight to the Congress, it needs to take his party along. At the same time, it is trying to say that it is not dependent on the Congress and can turn to the BSP as well.”