28 September, 2020

Who'll Blink?

Tough bargaining, conflicting demands and no clear winners

Who'll Blink?

DESPITE the snub administered by the Samajwadi Party (SP) on April 23, the Congress effort to make the numbers for Sonia Gandhi continued at a frenetic pace over the weekend. But even with muddled signals of a climbdown from the SP, party managers were left with only a faint glimmer of hope. Late on Saturday, J. Jayalalitha dimmed it further with a last-gasp blow, plumping for a third front regime led by Jyoti Basu with outside support from the Congress. Impatient with the lack of progress in the Congress manoeuvres, she firmly ruled out both a minority government or a coalition headed by it. Even before that, it was a peril-ridden sally towards power. On Saturday, SP spokesman Amar Singh was quoted by a news agency saying his party didn’t rule out conditional support to the Congress. A little over an hour later, he denied having made any such statement and was back to condemning the Congress.

The hardened stand of the SP is open to twin interpretations. First, that under pressure from the Left and his constituency Mulayam may back the...



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