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With assembly polls not far away, Mulayam is pulling out all stops to see to it that the rocky boat he is on does not turn turtle.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2006 23:35 IST

With assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh not too far away, Mulayam Singh Yadav is pulling out all stops to see to it that the increasingly rocky boat he is on does not turn turtle. If you thought that was a mixed metaphor, the UP Chief Minister's rhetoric goes a step further. On Wednesday, the Samajwadi Party (SP) chief alleged that the state Governor, TV Rajeswar, had recommended the dismissal of the government. The denial from Raj Bhavan came swiftly, but not before it became evident that Mr Yadav, like his ‘secular’ colleagues in other states in the recent past, love selling conspiracy theories of political machinations being hatched against him.

The dismissal of a state government isn’t the ‘off-with-his-head’ order from the Centre it was decades ago. The imposition of Article 356 in order to usher President’s Rule has to follow a parliamentary process that short-circuits tit-for-tat Centre-state political wranglings. That is what happened in Bihar during the NDA’s rule, when demanding President’s Rule in the Rabri Devi-Lalu Yadav-ruled state became a political fashion statement rather than an administrative necessity. So Mr Yadav’s worries about the Centre pulling the rug from under his feet is unfounded. There are, however, other forces tugging at the rug on which he stands. The Congress has been complaining about the law and order situation for some time and the SP leaders have mastered the art of making their own noises levelled at the party leading the UPA government in Delhi.

But more worrying for Mr Yadav are the sounds emanating from the CPI(M). The state unit of the Left party isn’t very happy rubbing ideological and grassroots-level shoulders with the SP. The Left’s central leadership is yet to take a call on the pre-electoral arrangements with the ruling party, but Mr Yadav is already nervous about a snap in ties. A break with the Left will not sound an electoral death knell for the SP, but it certainly will make the other players in Elections 2007 more noisy. Thus, Mr Yadav’s portrayal of himself as a harangued gentleman. Mayawati, of course, has already started practising her lines.

First Published: Nov 16, 2006 23:35 IST