SP: Front talk premature

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  • Published 12.03.12

Lucknow, March 11: If Mulayam Singh Yadav is keen to build an alternative front, he is doing so with caution and keeping in mind the pitfalls of the past.

The buzz about the Thursday swearing-in of Akhilesh Yadav being more than an oath-taking ceremony grew louder today after clamours by senior Samajwadi leaders that they would like to see Mulayam as Prime Minister in 2014.

But the Samajwadi chief himself played down the talk of a third front as “premature”, perhaps careful not to let the plan be killed before it starts taking shape.

“There is no such talk yet. Right now, it is premature. I am not in a position to say anything about it,” Mulayam said before leaving for Delhi with Akhilesh.

The list of invitees for the March 15 coronation of Akhilesh includes Jayalalithaa, who could possibly be engaged in an initiative for a third front. Jayalalithaa is expected to send a representative to the event.

Left leaders are scheduled to attend, as are Chandrababu Naidu, Lalu Prasad and Sharad Yadav.

Samajwadi insiders said Mulayam wanted the swearing-in ceremony, planned on a sprawling ground behind the chief minister’s office here, to be a grand event not only to highlight the party’s biggest victory in the state so far but also to herald a new beginning for himself.

Senior party leader Azam Khan said he and several others would like to see Mulayam become Prime Minister, fuelling the speculation that the swearing-in could be used by Mulayam to explore an effective alternative at the Centre after the 2014 general election.

The meetings with Jayalalithaa’s representative and Naidu would be the first in almost five years. Mulayam had held talks with Jayalalithaa for a possible anti-Congress front in 2007, before the Samajwadi lost power to Mayawati in May that year.

A month before that, Jayalalithaa, Mulayam and Naidu had been invited to a Chandigarh programme in memory of Devi Lal. But the overtures ended prematurely.

In 2009, an unsuccessful effort towards the formation of such a front revolved around Mayawati. That initiative was pushed by H.D. Deve Gowda, Left leaders Prakash Karat and A.B. Bardhan, and Jayalalithaa. Mayawati was projected as the head of such a front and a possible Prime Minister. The the Left later denied having pushed for Mayawati as Prime Minister.

Karat and Bardhan are likely to attend Akhilesh’s swearing-in, Samajwadi sources said.