LUCKNOW: Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday said Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was free to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from anywhere in Uttar Pradesh.
Replying to questions on speculation that Modi would contest from Lucknow or Varanasi, Yadav said: “He is free to contest from anywhere in the state though he is unwelcome as the people of Uttar Pradesh are peace-loving and would not like to be divided on communal lines.”
Yadav has been critical of Modi, calling him a “media creation” and one who was divisive in his politics. Yadav had recently slammed a section of the media for giving undue publicity to Modi.
He had said that the media ignored development in other states.
Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders say that Yadav is rattled at the prospects of the “Modi juggernaut” rolling into Uttar Pradesh as it would imperil Yadav’s Muslim vote bank, which would then be divided between the SP and the Congress. With a history of tactical voting by Muslims in the state, even SP leaders are not ruling this out.
Yadav’s SP has 22 MPs and the party is working to increase the number.
Yadav has repeatedly expressed his ambition to become prime minister.
“Modi had camped in Karnataka and spent months there but the media did not bother to analyse it. Now a hype is being created about his influence in UP.
“Time will tell that the people of UP are intelligent enough to assess who is worth their support,” Mulayam had said.
Political analysts say that Mulayam has been trying to play down Modi since long fearing that polarisation of votes on communal lines may hit the SP.
Earlier, in view of BJP’s internal bickering, Mulayam had even praised Advani to keep Modi at bay. Muslims are also SP’s vote bank.
However, in 2009 Lok Sabha elections, when Mulayam shook hands with former chief minister Kalyan Singh, a section of community voted for the Congress.
As a result, Congress’s Lok Sabha tally in UP increased from 10 to 22 and SP came down from 35 to 22.
Revival in UP helped the Congress to form UPA II.
Indo-Asian News Service