New Delhi: Two weeks before Budget Session of Parliament, the Samajwadi Party gave the strongest indication so far that it was itching for General Elections this year. Speaking at a party function in Lucknow, party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said, "Congress is the master of double speak and is misleading people. After not governing for four years, Congress will use the forthcoming Budget Session to implement populist measures. Still smarting from the outrage over Delhi gangrape, Congress is trying its best to change the discourse and mislead people. Elections can be held anytime till September 2013, people should beware."
Another SP leader Ram Asrey Kushwaha unveiled the party's strategy. "SP is ready with its strategy. We have already announced 63 candidates for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections," he said.
But why is Mulayam keen for an election this year? Within the SP, there is growing resentment against Mulayam's decision of constantly bailing the Congress out at key moments, while the disproportionate assets case verdict has gone against him. With steady decline in law and order, the SP regime is becoming increasingly unpopular. Mulayam doesn't want to go below his present figure of 22 MPs. He is also keen to prevent the Congress of reaping political dividends from social welfare schemes that the party is focusing on.
The Congress, however, says it is not worried. "There is nothing to worry. All this is just morale boosting talk from Mulayam," said Rajiv Shukla.
Yes, it's true that in the past few years, Mulayam Singh Yadav has always been the knight in shining armour for the Congress. Now though, Mulayam is literally playing the last big political match of his career. And in this last inning, he wants to ensure he gets the timing right.