SP willing to give or take
This was evident from Mulayam's comments in an interview to HT shortly before he addressed a poll meeting in Allahabad on Friday.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) will pitch strongly for a leadership role in any secular, non-BJP government. This was evident from SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's comments in an exclusive interview to the Hindustan Times shortly before he addressed a public meeting here on Friday.
Yadav's insistence that the SP was willing to "give and take" issue-based support was indication enough that the UP chief minister wasn't ruling himself out of the leadership race in New Delhi.
''No special efforts will be required to put together a third front, which will emerge of its own from the election results. I will try to bring together the smaller, secular parties," Yadav said.
In the same breath, Yadav extended an olive branch to the CPI(M), which will play a crucial role in putting together a non-BJP alternative: "Comrade H.S. Surjeet is my well-wisher. We may have quarrelled but we can never be separated. Our relationship will stand the test of time."
When asked whether he would support a Congress regime or be part of a dispensation led by it, Yadav hedged. "These issues will be discussed after the results are out," he said. When his attention was drawn to an AICC statement that the SP was on the secular side, Yadav said communal forces could not be fought through resolutions in Delhi. "It has to be contested on the ground the way my party has done, facing the BJP's bullets, lathis and tear-gas shells."
Equally significant was SP general secretary Amar Singh's claim at a meeting here on Thursday that the elections would either throw up an SP-led regime or one supported by it.
Having resigned his Lok Sabha seat before taking over as UP chief minister last August, Yadav has proclaimed his prime ministerial ambitions by seeking to re-enter Parliament from Mainpuri. The SP chief told HT that his party's parliamentary board will meet on May 13 to fine-tune its strategy to keep a BJP-led coalition out of power and instal a secular government in its place.
By showcasing the SP as a key player at the Centre, Yadav also expected to strengthen the challenge of his Allahabad candidate, Reoti Raman Singh, whom the BJP calls a lightweight.