KOLKATA (TIP): Indicating that he is keeping all his options open for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Thursday announced that his party would go to polls alone and would play a key role in formation of the next government at the Centre. He said the two national parties, Congress and BJP, were fast losing ground and that a non-BJP, non-Congress third front would take shape after the elections.
“The third front has always taken shape after elections,” Mulayam said while citing past examples. When asked if he was eyeing the Prime Minister’s post, the SP chief said he had no ambition for the top job. “Such questions usually come from those who don’t want to see a third front coming up,” he said with a laugh.
“As of now, we have decided to go to polls alone. We have had no talks with any political party for a prepoll alliance,” he added. Talking to reporters after the party’s national executive in Kolkota, Mulayam blamed the Congress government’s “misrule” for price hike and corruption but at the same time said the SP would not field any candidate against Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Rae Bareli in the Lok Sabha elections as a “thanksgiving gesture” in return for the Congress not putting up any candidate against his daughter-in-law Dimple in Kannauj by-polls.
Unlike other SP leaders, Mulayam refrained from commenting on whether Rahul Gandhi was PM material. “I offer my best wishes to Rahul on whatever he does in politics,” he said. However, he skirted queries on whether the SP would give a walkover to Rahul in the LS polls. When asked about Congress’s allegation that he was unreliable, a visibly agitated Mulayam said, “I am known for keeping my word.”
‘Akhilesh vs Rahul’ move worries Cong With Mulayam shattering the working relationship between Congress and SP with his remarks, rattled Congress sees SP as moving to cast the next election as a ‘Rahul vs Akhilesh’ battle. By focusing on Rahul, Mulayam may want to show his constituency that he was playing for central sweepstakes, a gambit to consolidate the support base. The 2014 polls will be his last shot at the top post.