Millennium Post

FM becoming prez at cost of West Bengal

With the Samajwadi Party having decided to endorse the candidature of the finance minister Pranab Mukherjee as the presidential candidate, the political pundits are looking for possible reasons for the change of heart on the part of Mulayam Singh Yadav.  

Millennium Post has learnt that the deal was struck between the Samajwadi Party and the Congress on Wednesday night, when the Samajwadi Party chief Yadav met the Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Sources say that Yadav drove down to Gandhi’s residence at 10, Janpath, at about 11:30 pm in order to discuss Mukherjee and the deal.

The meeting between the two leaders took place on the same day when the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Yadav had jointly announced three alternative names as presidential candidates and had virtually rejected Mukherjee’s name. The tough stand taken by the Congress against Banerjee on Thursday is seen in the light of Yadav’s support to Mukherjee confirmed a night before.

The Samajwadi Party’s U-turn on the issue came after an assurance was given by the Congress to it to provide a financial package for Uttar Pradesh. Incidentally, Mukherjee had rejected a much lighter financial assistance to West Bengal.

Sources say that with many promises made in the election manifesto of the Samajwadi Party, it would find the going tough if no assistance is given by the centre. ‘The other factor is that Akhilesh [Yadav] has just started his political career, and at this moment, we do not want to disturb our equations with the centre,’ said a senior Samajwadi Party leader.

The party insiders say that the party general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav and Naresh Agrawal advocated support for Mukherjee. The two leaders were in touch with the Congress leaders and persuaded Mulayam Singh Yadav to leave Banerjee and go with Mukherjee.

The Samajwadi Party has now finally got the attention at the centre that it longed for after its emphatic win in the Uttar Pradesh assembly election. However, Uttar Pradesh’s gain seems to be West Bengal’s loss.
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