The move did not come as a surprise as the shrewd politician Mulayam always looks to further his own political interests even at the cost of friends.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) presently faces an uphill task in keeping the BJP in good humour. Already several obstacles exist for the Akhilesh Yadav government: Raj Bhavan has held up five names for the MLC, the Lokayukta appointment file has been returned five times and several bills need Raj Bhavan’s approval. The BJP is keeping Akhilesh Yadav on tenterhooks — senior minister Azam Khan claimed in the Vidhan Sabha that the mere courtesy of an acknowledgment of the CM’s letter is not being done by the central government.
The immediate gainer from SP’s splitting from the grand alliance will be the BJP. It can be seen as a small step to mend fences with the BJP. For Mulayam a soft BJP is more profitable than a united Janata Parivar in UP.
Another reason for the split is that the SP now wants to shed the extra baggage of Janata Parivar unification as their leaders are becoming a liability in UP due to their interference and political ambitions. A possible victory of the Janata Parivar will mean oblivion for Akhilesh as he will be overshadowed by Nitish Kumar.
The socialist leaders will be cut to size in case the BJP wins leaving only SP as a force championing the cause of the ‘secular’ votes. Also, the SP has avoided taking collective responsibility for any loss at the polls as its individual loss hardly matters in Bihar. Though SP’s national general secretary has denied that the CBI probe against suspended Noida authority engineer Yadav Singh has any role in the decision, many find it hard to digest in Lucknow.
The visible impact of SP’s decision is evident. SP may not have any ground in Bihar but in politics what matters is the ‘message’. The message has now gone out: the Janata Parivar is buried and there is no possible unified front to challenge PM Narendra Modi. The Janata Parivar constituents in Bihar–RJD and JD (U) are humiliated while BJP will trumpet the loss of Lalu and Nitish’s for failing to keep their flock together.
Another immediate impact will be the loss of credibility. With the SP desertion, the Janata Parivar constituents have again lived up to expectations: we unite only to part ways later. Coming together will be a difficult task if not impossible in the near future. Mulayam clearly has eroded the credibility of the socialist leaders in one stroke.