Mulayam Singh Yadav meets Sharad Yadav, Lalu Prasad; buys time

Despite Sharad’s emphasis on the “impeccable secular credentials of Mulayam”, there was speculation that the SP decision was linked to a meeting Mulayam had with PM Narendra Modi.

Mulayam Singh Yadav, janata parivar, Nitish Kumar, sharad yadav, lalu prasad yadav, samajwadi party, bihar elections SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and JD-U President Sharad Yadav after a meeting, at Mulayam’s residence in New Delhi on Friday. (Source: PTI Photo)

A day after the SP walked out of the Nitish Kumar-led grand alliance in Bihar, party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav was non-committal on attempts at reconciliation made by JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav and RJD chief Lalu Prasad, whom he met Friday.

Mulayam, according to sources in the Janata Parivar, promised to get back to Sharad and Lalu after consulting his family members and SP leaders.

“We are keeping our fingers crossed,” Janata Parivar sources told The Indian Express, making it clear that Mulayam could choose either option — going it alone in the Bihar Assembly polls or returning to the Parivar fold. “We think the chances are 50-50,” a source added.

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Mulayam has had to contend with two groups with divergent views within the SP — one led by his brother Shivpal Singh Yadav and the other by his cousin Ram Gopal Yadav. Shivpal, a UP minister, favoured a tie-up with Lalu and Nitish, while Ram Gopal, SP general secretary, wanted the party to steer clear of the duo.

At the time of the merger of Janata Parivar constituents earlier this year, Ram Gopal had publicly expressed reservations about the move. Azam Khan, a minister in UP, would also play an important role in Mulayam’s final decision.

The SP claims it felt “insulted” by the offer of only five seats against its demand for 12 in the Assembly elections. Ram Gopal told reporters Thursday that the party would contest independently in Bihar and “win more than what was being offered”.

Despite Sharad’s emphasis on the “impeccable secular credentials of Mulayam”, there was speculation that the SP decision was linked to a meeting Mulayam had with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, followed by another meeting with Ram Gopal and BJP president Amit Shah.

Sources said the perception that the BJP had a role in the decision could hurt Mulayam, in whose state Assembly elections are due in 2017.

Moreover, sources said Mulayam’s latest stance comes as a surprise as five seats had been allocated to the SP after prior consultations. They said SP general secretary Kiranmoy Nanda, who was in-charge of Bihar, had met Lalu in Patna on August 29. It is learnt that after Lalu made the offer of five seats to him, Nanda facilitated a talk, first between Lalu and Mulayam, and later between Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Mulayam, over telephone. Sources claimed Mulayam had cleared the deal.

Sources also said Mulayam “could be given more seats” — if that is, in fact, the reason he called off the alliance.

JD(U) sends first lot of dna samples to 7 RCR

Patna: The JD(U) has sent the first “consignment” of 1 lakh DNA samples — hair and nails — at the 7 Race Course Road address of PM Narendra Modi. It was sent as part of CM Nitish Kumar’s “shabh wapsi” campaign. The campaign, as part of which party workers and the public would send their DNA samples to the PM for “test”, was launched after Kumar’s letter to the PM, asking him to take back his “DNA comment”, yielded no response. JD (U) state chief Bashistha Narayan Singh said: “We have sent the first lot of 1 lakh samples by registered post. We are collecting 50 lakh DNA samples to send to the PM to tell us about Bihar’s DNA.” ENS