Bangalore, March 30: Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said on Friday that he had always stood by the side of the UPA whenever the latter found itself in trouble but yet the Congress reciprocated by putting the CBI after him.
He said he was not afraid of anybody since he had always stood by truth. He also said that he never betrayed anyone but was betrayed by others on several occasions. Yadav also backed him by saying that there was not difference between his words and deeds.
Yadav's claims do not have the approval of history. The man has never been a trusted rely for any quarter in Indian politics, whether left, right or centre. He has always nurtured a strong ambition and used other players in the league as per his convenience.
Let's look back into history and witness Yadav's politics of unpredictability:
Backing VP Singh over Chandra Shekhar
Even though Chandra Sekhar was one of his mentors, Mulayam Singh Yadav had backed VP Singh as the prime minister at a dramatic occasion of choosing the premier of the second non-Congress government in 42 years on December 1, 1989. It was a shocker for Shekhar, Singh's biggest rival in the Janata Dal.
Dumping VP Singh
Yadav dumped the beleaguered VP Singh government, saying the latter was negotiating with the BJP, which was supporting the government from outside. Singh's confrontation with the BJP's Ram Janmabhoomi agitation in late 1990 cornered the government and it gave a golden opportunity to the anti-Singh quarter to seek revenge.
Chandra Shekhar and his followers (including Devi Lal who had once backed Singh as the PM) dumped the Janata Dal soon and Yadav was also among them. The latter, who was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh then, found a great chance to emerge as a messiah for the minority.
After joining Chandra Shekhar, Yadav had said: "Ham to experiment kar rahe hain. VP ko dekh liya ab Chandra Shekhar ki bari hai. Baat bahut saaf hai: jis taraf Mulayam rahega wohi mazboot ho jayega" (I am experimenting. I have seen VP, now it is Chandra Shekhar's turn. Whoever Mulayam befriends will become strong).
Joining hands with Congress and BSP
Although it nay sound incredible today, but Yadav's SP (founded in late 1992) teamed up with the Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to topple the BJP government in UP led by Kalyan Singh. He also played a crucial role in engineering splits in various parties. Jagadambika Pal was installed as the CM but the Kalyan Singh government was reinstated after the judiciary intervened.
Assuring Congress but pulling out at the last moment
After the Atal Bihari government lost the confidence vote by one ballot (thanks to J Jayalithaa) in April 1999, the SP chief assured the Congress that he would help it to form government. But when Congress chief Sonia Gandhi approached the Rashtrapati Bhavan to stake claim saying she had a majority, Yadav backed out. Gandhi was left embarrassed.
Backing APJ Abdul Kalam as presidential candidate in 2002
In 2002, the SP was part of the People's Front which was a coalition of non-Congress and non-BJP parties. The BJP-led NDA had floated the name of APJ Abdul Kalam as the candidate for the presidential election that year and the Left had opposed Kalam and backed the late freedom fighter, Lakshmi Sahgal as its candidate. To the astonishment of the third front supporters, Yadav parted ways with the People's Front at the last moment and backed Kalam. The Left dubbed Yadav as a traitor but the latter got a political mileage by supporting a Muslim candidate for the president's post.
Taking covert help of the 'communal' BJP in state politics in 2003
Mulayam Singh Yadav often claims himself to be a secular politician who will never compromise with the communal forces, but in 2003 he had struck a covert understanding with the BJP to form government in UP after the latter had withdrawn its support for the BSP government. He continued to engineer manipulations to get the numbers while the NDA government at the Centre looked on with friendly eyes. The assembly Speaker also helped Yadav to continue in power.
Left betrayed again in 2008
Yadav often talks of forming a third front to defeat both the Congress and the BJP and makes overtures at the Left. But after the 2002 Kalam episode, he left the Left feel betrayed by backing the UPA government on the Indo-US nuclear deal in 2008. The Congress-led UPA I government survived the scare on that occasion but the Left Front was left out in the cold after it pulled out from the coalition.
Mulayam also achieved the Centre's blessings as the CBI eased the pressure on him over the disproportionate assets case. Later, Amar Singh, who was once a close aide of Yadav, also said how the SP leader took resort of pressure tactics to get his work done. However, Yadav had a match in the late BSP leader Kanshi Ram who ousted the former while he was on a foreign tour and placed Mayawati in the CM's seat. It was in 1993 when the SP-BSP coalition formed a government in the state.
Ditching Mamata Banerjee in 2012
Yadav had backed Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on the question of opposing Pranab Mukherjee's presidential candidature and instead floated other names in a press conference. Banerjee was happy over the fact that she found a strong ally against the Congress with which she had a strained relation at that moment due to various reasons. But as soon as Banerjee turned her back, Yadav announced that his party had full faith in Mukherjee's capability and would support him as the President of India. Banerjee was left cornered in the national politics with one strike.
However, on the day of the poll, Yadav voted in favour of Mukherjee's opponent P A Sangma by 'mistake'. He voted again but his ballot was cancelled by the Election Commission on grounds of violation of secrecy.
It was a poetic justice for Banerjee. But as far as Mulayam Singh Yadav is concerned, even a mistake is not above suspicion.