That Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has been using his alliance talks with the BJP as a pressure tactic with the Congress comes as no surprise. Sources in the BJP say that the two parties were indeed in talks on a host of issues prior to the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP leadership was in touch with Mulayam on the Ayodhya issue. He had agreed to cooperate to work towards the resolution of the imbroglio that would have facilitated the construction of a temple at Ayodhya. He,however,asked the BJP to defer the issue until the 2004 Lok Sabha elections were over,for the issue would have sharply polarised the polity on the eve of elections, said sources in the BJP.
Mulayam has more than once declared that he would be open to an understanding with the BJP if the party left its core Hindutva agenda like the Ayodhya temple,abolition of the Article 370,Uniform Civil Code.
In his memoirs,My Country My Life,L K Advani,too,refers to an incident in April 1999 when Mulayam had met him. Advani writes in the book: Yadav reiterated the commitment to me. But he also said,Advaniji,I have one condition. Once I announce that I am not going to support Sonia Gandhis claim to form the government,I want you to commit that the NDA will not again lay claim to form the government. I want fresh elections to take place. I said,Mulayamji,I thank you for your bold decision. As regards the other thing you have mentioned,let me tell you that many of us in the NDA are ourselves of the view that we should not lay claim to form the government again and,instead,face mid-term elections. Yadav stood by his word.
While some senior leaders in the BJP are said to have excellent relations with some top SP leaders,the proximity between the state leaderships of the SP and the BJP in Uttar Pradesh was an open secret until some time ago.