Mulayam Singh Yadav who fancies calling himself Maulana Mulayam has once again betrayed, at a crucial juncture the forces fighting the communal Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by deciding to field his Samajwadi Party candidates for the forthcoming assembly elections in Bihar independent of and in evident opposition to the Grand alliance of secular parties comprising of Janata Dal-United (JD-U), Rashtirya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress party. The other betrayer is the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) of Sharad Pawar but of that presently.
Mulayam is ostensibly upset with his Janata Parivar comrades for diminishing his political esteem by giving his party just five seats while pandering to Sonia Gandhi giving the Congress 40 seats. But as the media has reported Mulayam and his political lieutenant cousin Ram Gopal Yadav have been holding secret parleys with both Prime Minister Narendra Modi whom Mulayam met while Ram Gopal called on BJP president Amit Shah in these last few days just before the SP chief decided to go his separate way.
It’s not even four months when the Janata Parivar parties announced with much fanfare a merger under Mulayam’s leadership. The merger never came about because Mulayam’s family members in the SP feared having to share the goodies of offices with prominent parivar leaders like Lalu, Sharad Nitish, Deve Gowda and K C Tyagi and many others. So barely a month later Ram Gopal Yadav announced “No merger.”
But that’s another story. Maulana Mulayam has a history of betrayals at all crucial junctures. In his book “My Country, My Life’ L K Advani had described in great detail that soon after Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s first 13-month old government fell on 17 April 1999, George Fernandes who then lived right opposite Mulayam’s bungalow on Krishna Menon Marg arranged a meeting with Mulayam at his bungalow while a meeting of top anti-BJP leaders, including the Left and J Jayalalaitha was being held on the opposite side of the road, to decide on formation of an alternate government when Mulayam made an advance commitment to Advani not to support Sonia Gandhi. This was in 1999.
In 1990 Chandra Shekhar succeeded in splitting the Janata Dal only with the help of Mulayam who provided the crucial number of MPs in the Lok Sabha from UP to make one third necessary to effect the split in V P Singh’s Janata Dal. In the process Mulayam then in his first term as UP chief minister only led a rump of Janata Dal and constituted a majority in UP assembly only with the help of the Congress party. Then in the 1991 general elections he went against the advice of Rajiv Gandhi to force a dissolution of UP assembly, paving the way for the first single party BJP rule in UP under Kalyan Singh.
But thanks to the demolition of Bari Masjid, that government did not last long and another mid-term poll was held in UP with a overwhelming mood of revulsion against BJP across UP, MP, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh, providing an opportunity to the secular forces to consolidate their hold on the state. But Mulayam’s priority was to politically bury V P Singh and his Janata Dal to become the sole custodian of Muslims in UP and he succeeded in doing that by discovering a new ally in Kanshi Ram and his Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). However Mulayam was never sincere about sharing the political space with the Dalit forces and therefore in April 1995 broke away from BSP in the backdrop of murky drama of attempted assault on Mayawati. He thus paved the path for a BJP rule of the state for next seven years and eventually when he succeeded in becoming the UP chief minister in 2002 it was with the tacit support of Rajnath and Subrat Roy.
Before the 2004 general elections, being a shrewd political analyst he had assessed that the BJP stood no chance to return to power and had promised Anil Ambani to make him the Prime Minister of India if he won 40 seats in UP and thus hoped to become the crucial factor in forming a non-BJP government at the Centre. Ironically for Mulayam while he actually won 40 Lok Sabha seats, Sonia Gandhi did not need his support to prop up a UPA which formed the government in 2004. Mulayam was very sore and cut up with the development. But he couldn’t help it.
If we go back to his early political career from the Charan Singh days when he split the BLD, much more can be recalled of Mulayam’s betrayals. But this much would suffice. As for others in the Parivar with the exception of Lalu Prasad, Sharad Yadav, Nitish Kumar and even Deve Gowda, have supped with the BJP. Therefore it is surprising how Lalu fell for Mulayam’s bait. Perhaps it has to do with Yaduvanshi kinship. And so this election, Mulayam’s real brief is to ensure division of Yadav-Muslim vote. Whatever little his success may be, it will naturally cut only into Lalu’s vote base. That’s how he will help Narendra Modi achieve his dream run in Bihar.
Actually the other bit player in Bihar Sharad Pawar whose party the NCP too has decided to try independently its luck is in the same genre. Remember his great betrayal in 1999 when he split with the Congress and facilitated the return of the second NDA government with 182 seats. Sharad too has been a soft target in the secular camp all along. Of course, this election, they have Pappu Yadav and Owaisi too to spoil Lalu-Nitish game. And yet from all accounts the Prime Minister’s speech at the Bhagalpur rally betrayed some degree of nervousness. Why, if it is a cakewalk for Narendrabhai Damodardas Modi and Amit Shah?