The dinner at Tuesday’s high table might not prove to be sumptuous enough to bring Samajwadi Party (SP) president Mulayam Singh Yadav to the UPA fold.
A day after the much-hyped event in Delhi marked three years of UPA-II, SP general secretary and Rajya Sabha member Ram Gopal Yadav ruled out his cousin Mulayam joining the Manmohan Singh government.
“There is no question of his joining the UPA government. We have attended dinners in the past also, as we are extending outside support to the UPA.”
This round of dinner diplomacy, however, is aimed at mustering numbers for the forthcoming Presidential election, which remains UPA’s immediate concern. Mulayam’s support can bail it out of the crisis borne of ally Mamata Banerjee blowing-hot blowing-cold.
Though there has been no formal arrangement, but Mulayam would, in return, expect the Centre to bail out UP from the financial crunch as the new chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav, would need funds to deliver. The CM had recently met the PM with a wishlist.
Apparently, the Centre-state bonhomie is working both ways.
While the CM has already issued directives to fast-track pending projects in Rae Bareli and Amethi, the Lok Sabha constituencies of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and her son and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, the Centre has sanctioned R4,600 crore for the implementation of the NRHM scheme, despite the scam slur.
Party leaders in the state, too, refused to buy the Mulayam-joining-UPA buzz. SP spokes-person Rajendra Choudhary said, “We are in the process of expanding our party base to remove the tag of being just a regional force. Why should he (Mulayam) join the coalition at this juncture?”
The SP had won 23 Lok Sabha seats in 2009 and is confident of improving its tally on the basis of the ‘performance of the government under the leadership of Akhilesh Yadav’.
SP MP Naresh Agarwal also said, “There is no question of joining the government.”