A realignment of political forces is happening at the national level and the process will get hastened up after the Uttar Pradesh poll verdict.
This was the theme sought to be drilled home by leaders who convened at Bareilly on Sunday for the purpose of enlisting support for Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav’s case for another Chief Ministerial term at a public rally.
"The UPA coalition is dysfunctional and unstable and the Manmohan Singh government has a negligent attitude towards concerns of oppressed sections. A huge verdict in favor of Mulayam Singh will hasten the political process towards the formation of a viable third front”, said former Karnataka Chief Minister S Bangarappa. The "unprincipled coalition of the UPA will come down like a pack of cards if the Samajwadi Party is returned to the UP assembly with a huge verdict”, said suspended Congress leaders Kuwar Natwar Singh. “This is a decisive election and at stake is the very concept of India’s secularism”, said former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chauthala. Mulayam Singh Yadav himself had had this to say: “The Congress is being wiped out from the political map of India and it is time for the third front forces to re-establish and entrench itself.
In the less politically charged environs of the hotel lobby, former Andhra Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu explained the position thus: “Elections will come and go, but what we are talking about is an “alternative economic programme. Floor coordination already exists in Parliament between the TDP, AGP, INLD and the AIADMK and we are also talking to the Left parties. The re-emergence of the third front is certainly a viable idea”.
AIADMK leader J Jayalalitha’s absence – who cancelled her journey at the last hour after Saturday’s bomb blast in Tamil Nadu – came about as a dampener. Had she come, she would have addressed her first rally in UP in the Hindi language. "Jayalalitha sent in her message of support for Mulayam Singh and promised to address a Samajwadi Party rally scheduled at Allahabad later this month”, informed Samajwadi Party General Secretary Amar Singh.
The rally – attended by an estimated 15,000-strong crowd at the Islamia College grounds – did have its star attractions: Party MPs Jaya Bachchan and Jayaprada. Addressing the rally, the two leaders sought to reinforce the party theory that the Congress, BSP and the BJP have “ganged up” against the Samajwadi party. Some leaders including Azam Khan and Obeidullah Azmi also charged the Election Commission for its alleged partisan role in the conduct of the UP elections.
Mulayam Singh himself was on an announcements spree. Reduction on cooperative bank loan interest from 11% to 6%; loans to farmers for the purchase of seeds and scaled up values of compensation amount to farmers for accidental deaths (from Rs.1 lakh to Rs.2 lakh); housing plan for persons belonging to all castes under the “Lohia Awas Yojna”; monthly pension of Rs.4000/- to those who went to jail during the Emergency; setting up a world-class cancer hospital in the state – these are among the proposals that the Mulayam Singh government will implement if it is provided another term.
Red and green flags of the Samajwadi party – interspersed with the Telegu Desam flags here and there – fluttered in the breeze during the rally which did have its symbolic moments. On one occasion, former External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh was at the mike – going at sixes and sevens – when he was asked by Amar Singh to stop his speech briefly. Reason: A "namaaz" was being heard somewhere in the distance.