Mulayam may be a showstopper for Nitish in Uttar Pradesh

Mulayam may be a showstopper for Nitish in Uttar Pradesh

photo R. Narayan

Lucknow: Much has been made out of Uttar Pradesh chief minister’s statement on grand alliance, or, to use the latest word coined to describe it” RSS-free India”. But it can only surprise those who are not in the know of the political developments in the past.

There is nothing new in UP chief minister or someone else who is equally concerned raising a question mark over its leadership.

Both Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu Prasad Yadav have made no secret of the fact that they have nothing against if chosen to lead the country.

In this light can it be called “news”, in traditional sense of the term, if Akhilesh Yadav considers his father most suitable candiate for the post? Certainly it is not headline catching or a breaking news story.

In fact, old political war veterans vouchsafe that Mulayam was once considered for the country’s top political position once in some circles. He narrowly missed the bus.

Clearly, Akhilesh has done nothing new by claiming that his father was most suitable for the coveted post. He is not the only person to do so. He has rightly said that his political mentor has never climbed on BJP’s bandwagon.

Of course, he has done it to hit out at Nitish. But it could have been avoided. There was not need to make it so open.

Anybody who is somebody in politics knows that Nitish was with the BJP till about a couple of years ago. Much has been already written about it.

Now about Nitish’s ambition to emerge as a pan-India leader. There is nothing wrong to dream but he is not a political novice and he must have realised that the task is not easy. UP is gateway to Delhi and to capture Delhi’s throne he has to get the full support of the major party in the state which, at present, is the Samajwady party. It is more than clear, after Akhilesh’s statement, that he will not be backed by the party to the extent Nitish would like.

As regarding support by Lalu, openly he has agreed to play the role of a big brother but those who claim to know him express doubt that he will play the second fiddle for long. Secondly, he cannot ignore his sons especially Tejashwi who seems to be equally ambitious.

Another aspect which cannot be sidelined is the fact that Lalu is a bigger crowd puller than Nitish. Also that Lalu can play the caste card more effectively than Nitish. He has established it during recent Bihar elections by emerging as a bigger political force. Nitish has a clean image but in politics this alone is not enough. Senior leader that he is who will know it better than him.

Clearly, he has miles to go before he sleeps, to remember an old poem.

The writer is a senior journalist and political commentator