New Delhi: Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has struck a deal with the Congress and agreed to back UPA-II's Presidential candidate, sources say. Even though the bonhomie between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party is growing there is no talk of the latter joining the government, at least till the Presidential polls are over, sources add.
With the Samajwadi Party's support in the Presidential polls, the UPA's strength will increase as the Samajwadi Party has a vote value of 68,000 while the Trinamool Congress has a vote value of only 48,000.
It seems the Congress is readying itself to dump Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and get Mulayam Singh Yadav to replace her as an ally.
However, Congress sources said that the party is not ready to part ways with the Trinamool yet. Congress sources said that the Samajwadi Party is likely to be more flexible than the Trinamool when it comes to reform policy decisions, but the Congress would prefer to wait for Mamata to walk out on her own.
This could be a repeat of 2008, when the Left walked out protesting against the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Agreement and the Samajwadi Party supported the UPA during the trust vote.
The evidence of Mulayam's growing closeness to the Central Government was evident on Tuesday when the Samajwadi Party chief was the star of UPA-II's third anniversary dinner. He was seen sharing the stage and then the high table with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, which is an honour reserved only for close allies.
Later at the dinner, Mulayam was seen sitting next to Sonia. Hit by policy paralysis and facing roadblocks from allies like Mamata, the Congress seems to be looking at Mulayam as a way out.
Its calculation is that it could use Mulayam's support to go ahead with big ticket reforms and counter the Trinamool's repeated threats.