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Congress ties-up with Mulayam Singh...By Ruby Arun

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Congress ties-up with Mulayam Singh

Monday, January 30, 2012
By Ruby Arun
Beni Prasad Verma as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav as Deputy Chief Minister and Mulayam Singh Yadav as Deputy Prime Minister. This might come true if the Congress-Samajwadi Party coalition stands in place in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. An agreement has been made between Congress and Samajwadi Party.

It is often said that after elections, Lalu Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav will find their appropriate place in cabinet expansion. In return, Congress will gain a votary in Bihar. In this deal, Congress might appear dominant but it cannot be denied that the party also needs a mouthpiece like him to flak the opposition and keep it on its toes.

The Congress wants to use the Lalu-Mulayam duo to achieve its ends. If Congress proves successful in making the government in UP with the support of Samajwadi Party then the party will target on 80 Lok Sabha seats. In order to make it happen, Congress had to appease whenever required. For sure this could happen if the party makes Mulayam Singh a deputy Prime Minister.

The pain of dealing with the erratic Mamata Banerjee appears to have got the Congress thinking of a fallback option to keep the UPA alliance afloat without a pushy Trinamool Congress. Sources said that Samajwadi Party with 22 Lok Sabha MPs (Trinamool has 19) is being seen as a possible alternative to the mercurial Bengal leader after the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls. Some Congress party strategists have suggested that if the Congress-Samjawadi Party coalition is in place, the party should dump Trinamool and revive its earlier ties in the run-up to 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Mulayam Singh has 22 MPs, Lalu Yadav has four and around five MPs of RLD have joined UPA.

The Mulayam- Lalu combo will be the major factor in getting rid of Mamata’s warning. There is a wave of criticism against Lalu, but Congress has tackled it in its own ways.

There is a possibility that if the strategy of Congress proves to be successful then it will take no time to create distance from Lalu and Mulayam. Consequently, a similar method will be applied in Bihar. But, if the party stands on fourth position in UP just like Bihar, then there is no doubt that these 26 MPs will be included in government.

Interestingly, Congress has been gambling since a long time, but the matter was in cold storage. This will be the litmus test for Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma and National Commission for Scheduled Caste Chairman P. L. Punia.

Gonda Congress MP Beni’s prestige would be at stake not only in seven assembly constituencies of his parliamentary area but also in Barabanki with his son Rakesh Verma contesting from Dariyabad seat there.

Barabanki Congress MP, P. L. Punia’s Dalit card and influence in the area would also be under keen observation in six constituencies of his area. Both Verma, known for his say in Kurmi vote bank and Punia, the Dalit face of Congress, would have the herculean task of ensuring maximum number of seats for the Congress, which had secured only three of the 55 seats in 2007 assembly polls.

As far as ticket distribution is concerned, Verma had ruled the roost and succeeded in ensuring tickets to his loyalists and also turncoats from Samajwadi Party. Congress leaders are hoping that party General Secretary Rahul Gandhi’s visit in the areas going to polls would boost their prospects.

There is also an argument over who gathers the huge crowd for public meetings of Rahul Gandhi. Congress gives all kudos to Rahul’s charisma, but the followers of Beni consider him behind this. After losing everything in politics Beni Prasad held the hand of Congress.

The party gave him tickets from Gonda. Besides, he was given the responsibility of distributing seven tickets of Devipatan seats. Beni won and made Congress win on Fiazabad, Behraich, Shravasti, Sultanpur, and Maharajganj. It is obvious that Rahul Gandhi will respect him and ignore his loquacity. After all, the question is how to gain power in UP. Beni will be a major support for Congress to win Kurmi- dominated seats from Devariya, Benras and Jaunpur.

According to the present scenario, it appears that it will be difficult to form a government without the support of the Congress or BJP. On the other hand, the people are neither supportive of Mayawati nor against her. Even the oppositionparties failed to take any initiative on land acquisition, law and order and corruption.

Significantly, the picture of Uttar Pradesh politics is still hazy with none among the many claimants seen to have a clear edge.

Of course, the new caste combinations have taken hold resulting in power shifting from mainstream parties to their regional counterparts. Besides caste equation, development and corruption will be a clincher. It will be interesting to see the fate of Rahul Gandhi in the new game of coalition.

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