Mulayam Singh Yadav and Kalyan Singh? both former Chief Ministers of UP? are recently in the news for all the wrong reasons. Once sworn enemies, they now claim to be ?friends?, their curious stunts causing ripples in political circles. While the latter'sself-goals leading to the destruction of his political status and image are baffling, it is not so hard to understand Yadav'sself-centred political antics. This is not to suggest that Mulayam Singh will be the gainer in the cynical games they are playing. On the contrary, the end-game may find him reciting the famous couplet: Na khuda hi mila, Na visal-e-sanam. The man who created a Muslim vote-bank for his party by aggressively and passionately, denouncing the Congress for betraying Muslim interests and the Congress Government at the Centre's?gross failure? to prevent the collapse of the disputed structure at Ayodhya, had no qualms of conscience in joining hands with the very same Congress to save the UPA Government.
Although Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh gleefully took the credit for winning over an ally when the UPA was short of a majority, SP leader had two obvious compulsions that prompted him to lend his party'ssupport to the Congress party. First compulsion was to extricate Yadav from the disproportionate assets case filed against him by the CBI. The clandestine ?deal? struck by Amar Singh, the middleman par excellence, was that the government would arm twist the CBI to ensure that no harm come to SP supremo in the said case. As a bonus, the ruling party would have the benefit of enormous money power and man-management prowess of Amar Singh to persuade ?for sale? members of Parliament to either abstain or vote for the government on the confidence motion. The second compelling reason to hurriedly stitch a tie up with the Congress was the apprehension that Congress party might woo BSP to retain power. The Congress-BSP alliance would have delivered a death blow to SP or so Mulayam Singh apprehended. He did succeed in this ?mission? but he is unlikely to save his skin in the disproportionate assets case. The Supreme Court has come down heavily on CBI for changing its stand in the case rather too frequently and expressed its displeasure by observing that it won'tlike the CBI to become an instrument of the Government. The perceived failure of the PM to keep his side of the ?deal? so angered Mulayam Singh'sMan-Friday that he accused the Congress of using the CBI case as a ?sword? against SP Chief during the current seat-sharing talks. The electoral understanding between the two parties is on the verge of a collapse given the Congress party'sinsistence to contest more parliamentary seats in UP than it deserves on the basis of its performance and strength on the ground.
The wrestler-turned politician who claims to be the torch-bearer of socialism was dubbed as ?Maulana? by no other than his newly acquired ?friend? Kalyan Singh. Yadav was the one who had opposed the Shila Nyas at Ayodhya in 1990 and his police opened fire on peaceful Hindus who had gone to the temple town to perform kar seva in 1991. It is again the ?Maulana? who carried on a tirade against the Ayodhya movement that led to a massive political churning in the Hindi heartland. Mulayam Singh is too clever to be unaware of the stark reality that Kalyan Singh can'tfetch him votes barring a handful from sections of Lodh community to which he belongs. That too is not certain in view of the widespread disillusionment among Hindus over former BJP leader joining hands with a party known for its anti-Hindu stance. And look at the price the SP is paying for this misadventure. There is a virtual revolt among Muslim leaders of the party against his ?friendship? with Kalyan Singh. Yadav'sefforts to diminish the anger among radical Muslims over his new ?friendship? have not produced any tangible results. Barevali Muslim clerics turned their backs on him and Amar Singh was cold shouldered when he called on Sunni clerics at Deoband. Maulana Arshad Madhani, president of the Jamait-e-Ulema Hind, too remained unimpressed with his explanations and would nothing to have with SP if it didn'tpart company with the former BJP leader. The Congress too has asked the SP to choose between it and Kalyan Singh. There is hardly anything to choose from. Neither the Congress nor Kalyan Singh can fetch a sizeable chunk of votes. In the bargain, Mulayam Singh may lose some, if not a big chunk, of his Muslim vote-bank. As of now, it appears that UP Muslims instead of supporting a particular party would resort to constituency-wise tactical voting in the coming elections. Will it provoke a Hindu backlash? Only time will tell.