He was ignored as the Prime Ministerial candidate in 1996-98 when the United Front government was in power. Now, he is back in the reckoning yet again by leaving the bitter episodes of the past behind. Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has gone aggressive to try his luck for one last time. With Mulayam taking the centrestage, the Third Front talks have gained momentum in the run up to 2013 Assembly Polls and 2014 General Elections.
JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav and Left parties have backed Mulayam’s bid for a Third Front government at the centre. Many more non-committal parties such as Naveen Patnaik’s BJD and a few UPA allies such as the NCP, DMK and RLD are expected to join the Third Front, if it takes a real shape. Because of the Left, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress may not join the Third Front. The party show inclination for a post-poll tie up with the BJP, while the BSP may go the Congress way.
The TDP has already shown interest in the BJP-led NDA. So, Mulayam and Left parties will try to bring Jagan Mohan Reddy on board to get the crucial support of the YSR Congress. AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa is expected to join the NDA sooner or later. Among others, JD-S, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha, RJD and AGP may get closer to the Third Front if that suits their political interest.
Mulayam Singh Yadav knows it very well that he needs to win at least 30 seats in Uttar Pradesh in order to make a strong bid for the PM’s post. Otherwise, the voice of dissent from other parties, will sink him again and leave nowhere. This time. Mulayam has the strong support from the Left and JD(U), which might help him to portray himself as a leader, who can give an alternative to the Congress and BJP. However, can he impress the voters with his UP-specific politics?
Mulayam may call himself a national leader, but there is little doubt that he does not have a pan-India presence and his boundaries are limited to Uttar Pradesh only. He also holds an image that talks about vote bank politics and minority appeasement. That may not go well with a large section of people in India. Under these circumstances, it would be very difficult for the Third Front to become a reality or garner votes across the country, which will help them come to the fore as a big force.