Mulayam Singh Yadav is known as a 'slippery' customer in the political circles of India. The former wrester turned a top ranking 'socialist' leader, who once almost became the Prime Minister is still nurturing the ambitions of addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort. The three times UP chief minister and a former defence minister of India has proved that he is a 24 hour politician, who can't be written off.
Mulayam Singh Yadav and the Congress share a 'love - hate' relationship. According to the Congress crisis managers, this 'slippery' customer is a manageable leader in the time of crisis. When Sonia Gandhi led Congress toppled the 13 month old NDA government in 1999, it was the same Mulayam Singh who stood by the Congress. Soon after the toppling, the relationship soured between him and the 10 Janpath. He had to face the ire of congressmen for depriving Sonia Gandhi of a chance to become the Prime Minister. Mulayam made a surprising come back in 2003 by seizing the power in Lucknow for the third time.
When the Congress led UPA-1 came to power at the Centre in 2004, Mulayam had to sit outside. He failed to share the power in New Delhi. He was even humiliated by the ruling Congress on some occasions. His moment came when the Left front pulled out of the UPA on the Nuclear deal with the USA. The Congress had to turn to Mulayam seeking a bailout. In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress retained the power by winning more than 200 seats on it's own. Mulayam came first in UP, but it was of no use in Delhi except extending an 'issue' based outside support.
The clamour for his son Akhilesh Yadav forced him to reluctantly cede the post of Chief Minister in Lucknow. Mulayam has time and again proved that his opposition to Congress is just a political drama and he is their dependable ally in the time of crisis.
Political analysts argue that the ruling Congress was using the CBI cases against him to buy his silence and support. The SP has also bailed out the UPA on many occasions by taking the side of government in the last 5 years. Be it the recent Food Security Bill (FSB) or Land Acquisition Bill.
The CBI filing a closure report in his assets case after so many years is naturally and justifiably raising serious doubts over the functioning and autonomy of the investigating agency and the motives behind it.
The nervous Congress, whose popularity ratings are all time low is once again looking at Mulayam for a bailout, till the next summer and possibly beyond that. He can once again come to the rescue of Congress. After all, you can't write him off.