SP Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav dwells at length with Dainik Jagran on probability of leading third front and functioning of UP government…

Following the resounding victory of Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh and appointing his son Akhilesh Yadav as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mulayam Singh Yadav indicated to go for a bigger role in Central politics. Amid declining popularity of the UPA government and internal bickering inflicting the main opposition party BJP, SP chief seems to be gaining centre stage in the national politics as talks of a third front led next government is gaining momentum. Despite supporting the UPA government, though from outside, the SP chief is advocating for a non-Congress, non-BJP alternative at the Centre. He even does not deny that he is in touch with the alliance partners of both the UPA and NDA.

Here is an excerpt of his interview conducted by Prasant Mishra, political editor with Dainik Jagran, on politics at the Centre and performance of UP government:

What do you make of BJP leader LK Advani’s prediction that there would be a non-Congress, non-BJP Prime Minister after 2014 poll?

It will happen. None of the two largest parties, Congress and BJP, would be able to win majority in the next general election. Third front will emerge as a strong force.

Are you seeing any kind of disappointment in both the Congress and BJP camps caused by Advani’s comment?

No. It is reflection of the people’s sentiments. Voters are looking for a third alternative. Advani has also written that third front governments have been short lived. He is right, but it is a process. Third front governments will gradually grow stronger. Just take the example of Bihar. No national party is leading a government there. JD-U is in alliance with the BJP, but Nitish is strong enough to run the government there.

Both the major forces of UP politics, SP and BSP, are supporting Congress. Won’t it harm you in 2014 general elections?

As far as BSP is concerned, it’s better you talk to them about their future. SP has always stood by secular forces to stop BJP. So we are not going to incur any loss.

You backtracked your decision to send observers to Raebareli and Amethi. Is there anything cooking between Congress and SP?

There is nothing like this. We will send other people there to know the position of our party.

What is the probability of your leading a third front government at the Centre?

This will depend upon results of 2014 elections. We will have to wait for final tally of political parties after the general elections. It is possible that I could lead a government if SP emerges as a formidable force after the elections. It is hard to figure out anything at this juncture.

What are your preparations for a bigger role at the Centre after 2014 polls? Are you talking to the leaders of other parties in this regard?

(Smilingly) I am not a contender for the post of Prime Minister yet. Yes, if SP emerges as a bigger force then parties may also agree to have a Prime Minister from our party. But everything will depend upon poll results and the new equations in its aftermath. Presently I do not talk to anyone. Of course, I talk to Chandrababu Naidu occasionally. Nitish Kumar rarely visits Delhi. I will speak to him at the right time.

Non-Congress, non-BJP parties are looking at you. Are you ready to lead them?

It will be decided after the results. Your personal desire has nothing to do with your role in politics. Power is worshiped in politics too.

Your party has got overwhelming majority in Uttar Pradesh but it has failed to impress by its performance. Why is it so?

May be the media is not seeing it but the people are immensely impressed with our work. Let me remind you that the state government has decided to waive farm loans up to Rs 50,000. It’s true that we have not yet succeeded in making the educated class of the state to appreciate our performance.

Akhilesh is not getting benefits of your experience. Where does the problem actually lie?

If he seeks my advice, I will certainly help him. But if he does not, I will not interfere in his affairs. He will learn from his own experiences and soon begin to deliver good results.

It seems Akhilesh does not seek your advice, but on the contrary there is a notion in Uttar Pradesh that Akhilesh is CM and his father is super-CM. It is also said that there are five people in the state who are working in the capacity of a CM.

This is totally wrong. There are some people including some officers who are hatching conspiracies and spreading rumours. I will personally speak to them. In the coming one or so, you will see that Akhilesh will strengthen his position as a Chief Minister. He sympathetically interacts with students, farmers, unemployed youths and women and listens to their problems. He is working hard and results will be evident very soon.

Are his advisors incapable of giving him right advices?

Yes, there are such problems which will be sorted out soon.

The Chief Minster took two major decisions but he had to backtrack within 24 hours.

You are hinting at the decision to shut down malls and other commercial establishments by 5 pm every day. Actually, discussions were held over it but the Chief Minister had decided on the same evening not to implement it. Late explanation by the state government in this regard was a real mistake on our part.

Was it morally a right decision to allow the MLAs to purchase vehicles of upto Rs 20 lakh from their developmental funds?

The Chief Minster had taken the decision on demands from some MLAs. However, later some MLAs of our party denied purchasing the vehicles from their funds meant for development. Therefore we withdrew our decision. Actually I was not present there. Had I been there, this fiasco would not have happened.

The officers appointed in Chief Minister’s secretariat (Anexi, fifth floor) during Mayawati regime whom you would criticize a lot, have been given important positions in the state administration. What does it mean?

The officers appointed at the fifth floor are required to execute the policies of the government. We have retained the officers who are highly experienced. It is possible that one or two of them could be naïve, but I am sure they would also have learnt a lot.

Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, Maulana Bukhari, has demanded to declare all the Muslims in Uttar Pradesh as backwards to grant them reservations. He also asked to appoint DMs and Police officers from Muslim communities as per their proportion in the state population. Do you agree with his demands?

I have not yet got his letter. I will give my consent to the demands which will be genuine. How is it possible for the UP government to declare all the Muslims as backward? This could be done by the Centre. As far as SP is concerned, we have given priority to sort out the problems of Muslims.

Latest News from India News Desk