Mulayam Singh Yadav all set to spoil Nitish – Lalu show in Bihar

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav may once again display his capability of doing the flip he is well known for in national politics. Party sources say the SP is all set to put up “dummy” candidates on 50 seats in the Bihar Assembly poll which would ultimately help the BJP which is facing a tough challenge from the “maha-gathbandhan” (grand alliance) of backward leaders Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar with the Congress.


SP national general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav’s meeting with BJP president Amit Shah on Monday – just two days after Mulayam met PM Narendra Modi – has fuelled speculation that the SP could well deliver a jolt to the alliance it was originally supposed to join. The meeting between Ram Gopal, known to be the party’s “think tank”, with Shah was a hush-hush affair and became known through sources only on Wednesday.

Earlier, after a meeting with the PM on Friday, Mulayam had declared that he would not participate in the “maha-gathbandhan” rally in Patna on Sunday.

While it was Mulayam who had sewn together the JD (U)-RJD-Congress alliance against the NDA in Bihar, his party was not given any seats to contest. Lalu Yadav had tried to pacify a miffed Mulayam by allocating five seats from his quota. But, this was not acceptable to the SP, which is now reportedly preparing to contest 50 seats.

The SP parliamentary board would take a final decision on the number of seats it would contest on Thursday. That it would put up candidates against the JD (U)-RJD-Congress alliance is “final”, says a senior party leader.

This is not the first time that the SP’s tactical role would benefit the BJP. In the last Bihar election, too, the SP had contested 146 of the total 240 seats. Though the SP did not win a single seat, it did fracture the anti-BJP vote, which resulted in the non-BJP parties losing seats.

The SP used the same strategy in other state elections, too. In Maharashtra, it contested 22, in Gujarat 67 and in Madhya Pradesh 164 seats. It scored a duck in all these states, but did help BJP candidates scrape through to victory at several places.

The Bihar election is arguably the toughest challenge Modi has faced since taking over as PM. In BJP circles, it is being seen as a prestige issue for him. Besides, having Mulayam on his side would also help Modi steer the GST Bill through in a special session of Parliament.

Mulayam, too, needs to keep Modi in good humour because of the CBI inquiry into the DA case pending against him in the Supreme Court. The CBI is also probing the multi-crore Yadav Singh scam in which top SP politicians are allegedly involved.

Mulayam, known for his ability to execute U-turns in politics whenever convenient, seems all prepared to put up a display of this ability once again.