Striking a deal
Somehow, the political blackmailing and bargaining at the time the country is electing its President is all in poor taste. If states can put a price, why can’t the voters during elections. Why support can’t be bought in the civic elections when it can brazenly be in the presidential elections? Isn’t it a deal?
The other day we were discussing the political blackmailing by states in country’s presidential polls when one of my colleagues said the Kolkata tigress is demanding Rs. 22000 crores against which she may get more than the promised amount of Rs. 16,000 crores. “UPA should know TMC’s voting percentage will match the financial grant.”
Lighter discussions apart, the fact is both Mamata Bannerjee and Mulayam Singh Yadav (national president of the Samajwadi Party) have similar demands and compulsions, but they have a different style.
Mamata is offensive. She is also playing to the gallery trying to prove her political and administrative mettle. She is also
nailing the left parties for the state being in the red, but she herself needs central support to come out of the financial mess. She may be hammer hot now but can she afford to send a message to her constituency in West Bengal that she blocked a Bengali’s entry into the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
The Samajwadi Party, on the other hand, is not an ally of the UPA. Secondly, it has no personal stakes. As of now, there is neither any candidate from the state, nor from their electoral constituency. But the party has two compulsions. One, it would not want to be even seen going with the BJP driven NDA. Second, Mulayam wants funds for the state for the success of his young son as CM.
And he doesn’t want commitment alone. Already, the Congress leaders have started saying that Centre’s support to the UP government is unlikely after the presidential elections. “Who wants Akhilesh to be successful, it will be politically suicidal.”
A shrewd Mulayam knows what the Congress leaders are hinting at. His silent support to Pranab Mukherjee is not without a reason. It’s the finance minister himself who has to bargain the price for support to the UPA nominee, most probably he himself.
Obviously, he must be finding Mulayam a better leader to handle than Mamata. But the final decision lies with Sonia Gandhi. She will decide the financial support to the two demanding states as well as the fate of Pranabda. Till date, she has not expressed her mind. Pranab is also a guess.