Heartland?s cosy club: Netas help each other to House
At one point in a recent debate in the Uttar Pradesh assembly, a greatly agitated Mulayam Singh Yadav got up, and wagging his finger at the BJP?s Ram Prakash Tripathi, shouted: ?Now you question the performance of the government.india Updated: Apr 03, 2004 14:10 IST
At one point in a recent debate in the Uttar Pradesh assembly, a greatly agitated Mulayam Singh Yadav got up, and wagging his finger at the BJP’s Ram Prakash Tripathi, shouted: “Now you question the performance of the government. Have you forgotten that we did not field a candidate against you?
As a stunned House listened to what amounted to an admission of the Samajwadi Party actually helping arch rivals BJP at the hustings, Mulayam continued: “I firmly believe in democratic traditions. There are so many times when we don’t field candidates against our friends in the opposition or do not campaign in their constituencies,” he said.
Welcome to the cosy club of UP politicians, where personal equations and secret pacts between sworn rivals are apparently not uncommon.
There are several illustrative instances. In 1998 and 1999, the BJP fielded the relatively lightweight D.P. Yadav and Bhupendra Singh against Mulayam. His son Akhilesh had it easy at Kannauj against an obscure Loktantrik Congress man.
In Ballia, former prime minister Chandra Shekhar has never faced a serious contender. With the exception of Karan Singh in 1999, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has faced fairly weak candidates from Lucknow. And this year, the call for a common opposition nominee against him has found very few takers.
Only BSP chief Mayawati does not seem to share this understanding. Even though the BJP has in the past has sent second-string leaders to campaign in her constituency. And now, with a fuzzy post-poll scenario looking increasingly likely, many observers can feel the deals market hotting up.
First Published: Mar 19, 2004 16:20 IST