Mayawati sends her men to dinner, Mulayam stays away

If Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav holding the UPA government's report card was the highlight of celebrations last year, the absence of DMK's T R Baalu, Trinamool Congress's Saugata Roy and Mulayam at the fourth anniversary dinner Wednesday exposed the coalition's political plight.

The absence of these parties, which account for 58 Lok Sabha seats, exposed the vulnerability of the government and underlines its difficulties in taking bold decisions to revive the economy in the election year.

But BSP chief Mayawati, who has time and again reiterated her party's outside support to the Manmohan Singh government till the next Lok Sabha elections, sent Rajya Sabha MPs Satish Misra and Brajesh Pathak to the dinner.

The two leaders, however, were not present when the report card was released. The BSP had not participated in the celebrations last year.

The outside support of the BSP, which has 21 MPs in Lok Sabha, is crucial to the stability of the Congress-led government after the Trinamool Congress and the DMK pulled out.

The absence of SP at the dinner was offset by the participation of the BSP and two other outside supporters, Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan.

This is a clear indication of the SP distancing itself from the Congress as it enters the election year. SP leaders acknowledge it as a necessity for the party gearing up for polls with Mulayam harbouring prime ministerial ambitions and hoping for a fractured verdict.

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