A former wrestler, who has been floored several times in the political arena, Samajwadi Party Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav suddenly appears to have found redemption for his sagging political fortunes, which were being singed by UP Chief Minister Mayawati. From his defeat in the UP Assembly elections in 2007 to becoming the toast of the Congress Party, Yadav has shown that even in his 69th year, he has lost none of his Machiavellian political instincts that have seen him rise every time he has been down.Now, as the saviour of the Indo-US nuclear deal, Yadav is being feted by the ruling party as the man who can probably do no wrong. Past snubs and name calling are being dismissed as “misunderstandings”. Yadav’s Samajwadi Party (SP), which commands the loyalties of 39 MPs in the Lok Sabha, has become the white knight for the Manmohan Singh government.
So, what’s in it for Yadav—apart from the “national interest”? Sources say SP will negotiate for some ministerial berths—at least two—after the Prime Minister returns from his G-8 jaunt in Tokyo. Then, there are whispers of deals regarding at least one large business house considered close to him.
Yadav, of course, didn’t just blindly bat for the Congress. Realising that his opponents would use his support for the deal to tarnish his image among his Muslim vote-bank, “Maulana” Mulayam, as he is called in some quarters, used former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s ringing endorsement of the deal to justify his support. That should come in handy for him when he launches his election campaign for the Lok Sabha elections sometime soon.
—Tejeesh N.S. Behl