Mulayam, Sonia bond during desperate times...

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New Delhi, Jul 4: Old foes turn friends in desperate situations. Now, thanks to Indo-US Nuclear deal - Sonia Gandhi and Mulayam Singh after a gap of 5 years have bonded real time.

The last time the two leaders had met was in the first week of September, 2003 days after Mr Yadav was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh for the third time on August 29, 2003. Soon after taking oath, Mr Yadav had met Ms Gandhi here when Congress announced its decision to extend ''outside'' support to the SP government.

But Mr Yadav rejected the demand of the Congress to set up a co-ordination committee and work on the basis of a common minimum programme (CMP). Soon after, the discord widened between the two parties.

On Friday, July 4 the meeting took place in the backdrop of SP's declaration of clear approval of the Indo-US nuclear deal. Mr Yadav along with his lieutenant Amar Singh met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi to discuss the developments. The SP gave a clear indication of having decided to back the Congress on the deal.

The support of the SP with 39 MPs would be crucial in saving the UPA government in case the Left allies parted ways with the ruling alliance. Both the Congress and the Left have been trying to win over the SP to their side.

Bahujan Samaj Party and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has already announced withdrawl of support to the UPA accusing the Central government of neglecting Uttar Pradesh and meting out step-motherly treatment to her party and the UP government.

While the SP has 39 MPs, the BSP has 17 members in the Lok Sabha, which has an effective strength of 543. The UPA has presently the support of 220 members. The Left parties, which have 59 lawmakers as a block, extend outside support to the government.


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