Monday, May 26, 2008

Enemy’s enemy as friend

IS THE Congress-Samajwadi Party thaw for real? Or are we reading too much into the invitation to the SP to attend the UPA’s fourth anniversary dinner? After all, the invite had al so gone to Mayawati, common political enemy to both Sonia Gandhi and Mulayam Singh Yadav, but trust the haughty Mayawati to turn down the invitation. It was four years ago that Amar Singh last dined with the Congress, when he went there as a guest of HKS Surjeet who was a guest. But last week, Singh went holding his own card which in the present political climate, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh felt compelled to send. Amar Singh walked in nearly 40 minutes late and joined one of the rear tables, but soon, the PM walked up to him and engaged him in a long conversation. The seating arrangements were a reflection of the
UPA’s work division. The PM was joined by Sharad Pawar, Lalu Prasad Yadav and others while Gandhi, the UPA’s pointperson for dealings with allies, had Prakash and Brinda Karat, Sitaram Yechury, Baalu and ministers from regional parties for company.My feeling is that while the Congress-SP relations will never blossom, there will be a working relationship aimed at keeping the BSP in check and ensuring the dynasties are not dented. So, Mulayam will not field candidates at Rae Bareily and Amethi where Yadav votes could cut into the majorities of Sonia and Rahul while the Congress is expected to reciprocate for Mulayam and son Akilesh in their constituencies. The old saying holds true: no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests.

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