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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2522

Maya’s meeting with Sonia: What is Cooking?

By Kshama Sunil - Syndicate Features

Do not expect two politicians to talk of weather, when they meet even casually, informally or by accident, goes a saying. This holds absolutely true for the recent meeting between Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati and Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

While the agenda for the meeting would always be kept away from the public gaze by projecting the interaction as a mere courtesy call to inquire about Congress President’s health, subsequent developments have shown that both sides want to do serious business in certain matters.

The BSP supremo is in a soup in connection with the disproportionate assets case with the UPA government trying every trick in the book to ‘book’ her, and therefore it is time for her to revive the old bonhomie on a personal level with Sonia, who has nominated the Prime Minister

Mayawati knows how the government works. Finance Minister P Chidambaram had recently denied a story suggesting that he was looking into the cases against Mayawati. The AICC is stepping up pressure that the law should take its own course and Behenji, like any other citizen, has to account for her wealth.

Sonia Gandhi’s problems are in Rae Bareli and Amethi. Both the constituencies have a substantial number of dalits and Mayawati’s party has a number of MLAs from the areas. Gandhi won the bye-election from Rae Bareli over a year back by a record margin as Mayawati did not put up her candidate and in a way supported her.

It is not that Sonia and Rahul Gandhi are on a sticky wicket in Rae Bareli and Amethi, but Congressmen insist that in the changed scenario, these two seats were the only sure one for the party in the Lok Sabha polls which could be held by the yearend. Sonia wants the comfort level to be up for her and her son.

Congress has nine members in the current Lok Sabha from UP The BSP and SP turf war in the politically key state is making the party more vulnerable in the state. Talk in political circles is that Sonia wants that BSP should continue to stay away from Rae Bareli and Amethi.

At the same time, it is equally true that Congress could be on a comeback trail in U P if the party works hard to regain lost ground. Rahul’s Bundelkhand visit, the “Hisab mango’ agitation of the party and the combine of AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh and PCC Chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi have ensured that Congress is being talked about, a rare phenomena in the last two decades.

The meeting between Sonia and Mayawati has taken place at a time when Congress has started building bridges with SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav with a section of the party concluding that a deal with Mayawati was not possible as BSP refuses to play ball.

Incidentally, Mulayam Singh Yadav is also facing a disproportionate assets case and wants to be on the winning side after the next Lok Sabha polls.

Mayawati is a hard bargainer, and the BJP is also making attempts to see that she remains on the saffron side after the next Lok Sabha elections.

What is interesting is that the BSP supremo has suddenly scaled down her rhetoric against Congress after the meeting with Sonia and has not renewed her threat to withdraw support to the Congress-led coalition at the Centre.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has acted smart and has increased the plan allocation for Uttar Pradesh by almost three-fold This would help dismiss Maya’s demand for a Rs 80,000 crore package for the state, give the Chief Minister a reason to tom-tom her achievement

Behenji, who has the penchant of holding press conferences at the drop of a hat, has so far failed to reveal a word on why she met Sonia. On their part, the ordinary Congressman in Uttar Pradesh as also elsewhere is confused by the meeting. Some party men have started smelling the rat amid talk that Sonia is cosying up with Maya at the cost of the party. The BSP has become a bugbear of Congress in

- Syndicate Features -

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