Friday, 25 September 2015

Why Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajawadi Party divorced Janata Parivar's 'Mahagathbandhan'?

When Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party declared that it had divorced Mahagathbandhan, many got confused over the reasons. Some people thought that differences over seat sharing formula could be the prime reason behind the divorce. While some people were of the view that Mulayam Singh Yadav perhaps wanted Narendra Modi's support for UP till assembly elections scheduled in 2017. This speculation surfaced after a meeting between Mulayam Singh Yadav and BJP President Amit Shah.

Some political experts were surprised that despite being the chief of the united Janata Parivar and a proposal that the united Parivar will contest elections on SP symbol (which SP itself declined), Mulayam Singh took such an extreme step? Technically the 200 seats contested by JD(U) and RJD could be considered as seats of SP (in future)!
Sharad Yadav rushed to convince Mulayam Singh whereas Lalu Yadav claimed that they would convince the SP chief. But Mulayam didn't budge and decided to form an alliance with NCP and others to contest Bihar elections independently.

Here it's to be noted that SP, NCP and others have no relevance inBiharpolity and I don't think that they can inflict any damage to JD(U)-RJD-Congress ally. But the question remains, what's the real reason behind SP's withdrawal from the Mahagathbandhan?

The answer lies not in Bihar polity. It's in fact a case of national polity where SP is keen to dominate. It's a contest between SP and Congress.

The 2014 general elections gave an unprecedented mandate. BJP got majority by itself whereas NDA crossed te mark of 330 seats. The Congress got its worst mandate of 44 seats and failed to qualify to get the official position of leader of opposition (LoP). NDA allies though got some success but couldn't get the leverage to blackmail BJP. Similarly regional parties like AIDMK, TMC, BJD and TRS too got huge electoral success but were not in situation to pressurize the BJP.
The above is true in the context to BJP. But what was the message in the context of Congress party? The Congress neither qualified for LoP, nor the other opposition parties like TMC, AIDMK, BJD and TRS were interested to be led by the Congress. Then a series of assembly elections followed where the Congress lost very badly. In Delhi assembly elections no doubt AAP secured a historic win by limiting BJP to just 3 seats but the Congress, which once ruled Delhi for 15 years, failed to open its account.

Clearly the Congress lost its status among the opposition parties. And a vacuum of leadership surfaced among the non-BJP parties. Veteran Mulayam Singh Yadav realised the vacuum and tried to take centre stage in national opposition politics. SP got just five seats, but it's ruling the largest state of India. Thus he started preparing a field to emerg as the prime non-BJP leader with the help of a united Janata Parivar. The Modi juggernaut in fact frightened all the Janata fractions. INLD already lost Haryana, JD(S), JD(U) and RJD are also afraid about results in the upcoming assembly polls. Thus Mulayam proposed the reunion of Janata Parivar to represent a bigger block in national polity.

Karnataka, UP,Haryana were never a problem for the merger of other Janata parties in SP because in these states non-SP parties have no major stakes. The problem was in Bihar where two tallest leaders Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav were struggling for survival.

Lalu tried for the Congress support but Rahul preferred Nitish Kumar. For Nitish Kumar, though he commands popularity, but doesn't enjoy a base like Lalu Yadav. Thus Mulayam Singh took tried to convince both Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar to arrive at a solution. Because of Nitish's popularity, he was made Chief Ministerial candidate whereas Lalu Yadav was assured of greater say in the coalition.

But Nitish Kumar played differently. He knew that Lalu Yadav may play intelligently to dominate him, so he inclined towards the Congress. Rahul Gandhi demanded 40 seats, which was granted by Nitish Kumar immediately. This in fact foiled the game plan of Mulayam Singh. On the other hand the Congress wanted a dominant role in a state assembly where it lost its foothold. Nitish provided this. From Nitish's point of view the 40 seats granted to the Congress can be considered as JD(U) seats. That means while RJD is contesting on 100 seats, JD(U) is practically contesting on 140 seats!

Clearly Lalu Yadav was stumped by this brilliant politics. But Lalu has nothing to do at this moment. It's to be seen in future how RJD supports in those 40 Congress seats. But the difference between RJD chief and Rahul Gandhi is more visible, which should be a matter of concern for Nitish Kumar.

Coming back to Mulayam Singh, he really was disturbed over Nitish Kumar's trick of giving the Congress an entry. This was an attack on Mulayam Singh's national ambition. He knew it very well that if JDU-RJD-Congress alliance wins in Bihar, then this might also be viewed as return of the Congress in national polity!

That's exactly the reason why SP withdrew from the "Mahagathbandhan" and started criticising JD(U) in general and Nitish Kumar in particular.

Politics is always a complex subject. Personally I don't think that SP can do any damage to Nitish-led coalition. Bihar politics may subject to some unprecedented complex inter-party rival politics in the coming times. Don't forget such internal politics is also possible in NDA by LJP and HAM.

Thus Bihar is entering into a complex political situation but there should not be any doubt why SP divorced Janata Parivar.

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