“We are ready to support a secular, democratic government but no formal invite has come from the prime minister,” said Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh (53) said on Sunday.
His words were a far cry from what he’d said just three days before the results, that his party wouldn’t repeat its mistake of behaving like a gentleman and would extract its “pound of flesh” for any support it might offer the Congress.
With the Congress notching up one of its biggest victories in years, gone was the pre-poll arrogance of the SP. Instead, a sheepish Singh and party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav virtually offered their support without pre-conditions.
“It is the prime minister’s prerogative to take a decision on questions like the SP’s inclusion in the Union Cabinet and portfolios that can be offered to us,” Singh said after a meeting of the party’s parliamentary board.
SP leaders are worried about being rendered politically irrelevant in the event the party is kept out of the Centre. Though it didn’t do too badly (its Lok Sabha seat count declined from 39 in 2004 to 26), it cannot bargain with the Congress from a position of strength in the present circumstances.
For now, Yadav and Singh are all dressed up but have nowhere to go.