Editor’s Desk: After failing to fulfill his Prime Ministerial ambitions in the 2009 general elections, BJP veteran LK Advani hoped for a massive coup to bring down the UPA II government and become the Prime Minister in the mid-term polls. However, his plans were in tatters after Mulayam Singh Yadav ditched Mamata Banerjee.
After proposing former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam earlier, the BJP lied low for months. The numbers were not in BJP’s favour. So, the party had no option but to wait for the Congress’ decision. It was believed that Pranab Mukherjee was emerging as the consensus candidate and it would be a smooth sailing for him.
Even though AIADMK and BJD declared their support for former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma, the BJP-led NDA still did not intervene. The party was trying to resolve the infighting within and its leaders were busy in propping up each other for the Prime Minister’s post even as the 2014 general elections are far away.
While all these drama continued, Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee fired a bomb shell in Delhi, when she tied up with Mulayam to reject the Congress nominees and batted for former President APJ Abdul Kalam. To add insult to injury, she also took the names of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee.
If we believe Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy, it was a game plan hatched by LK Advani to trigger this coup. The BJP definitely tried to fish in the troubled waters and Advani saw a possibility of mid-term polls if the Congress candidate loses out in the race.
However, that did not happen. Mulayam Singh Yadav yet again proved why he cannot be trusted in the present Indian political scenario. He ditched Mamata and extended his support to the Congress. That prompted the Congress to go aggressive and reach out to its allies.
Finally, the Congress Party garnered enough support for Pranab and then announced him as its Presidential candidate. The DMK, NCP, National Conference, RLD, Muslim League, Samajwadi Party, BSP, RJD, JD-S and many other parties have come out in support of Pranab Mukherjee. It is speculated that the Left parties may too support the ‘Bengali Babu’.
While Mamata Banerjee was completely marginalized, the BJP and Advani were also outsmarted. Now, Advani has to content with the fact that mid-term polls in the country are a distant dream. The BJP may not have any other option but to back Pranab to save its face in national politics. If that happens, the Congress may offer the Vice President’s post to the Opposition. However, reports say that that post may go to the Samajwadi Party, leaving the BJP-led NDA empty-handed.
At the end of the day, Sonia Gandhi and the Congress Party emerged stronger, while Mamata turned out to be the biggest loser. The BJP was pushed into political wilderness yet again. All this happened on a day when Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress decimated the Congress in Andhra Pradesh bypolls. Despite that setback, the Congress has now reasons to smile.