New Delhi: Deserted by his Muslim vote bank for joining hands with Kalyan Singh and abandoned by his trusted minority leaders, Mulayam Singh Yadav in is in an overdrive to reach out to the community once again.
Ironically though, the Samajwadi Party leader must import the Muslim mascot to his home state fro faraway Maharashtra.
MNS leader Raj Thackeray has inadvertently facilitated what Mulayam Singh could not do for almost a year. In a single stroke, Raj's stand in his home state Maharashtra raised a Muslim mascot for the Samajwadi Party in the form of Abu Azmi, a native of Azamgarh in eastern Uttar Pradesh.
Now Azmi, the MLA representing Bhiwandi in Maharashtra assembly is SP's new poster boy.
"Every drop of my blood wil be used to defend north Indians in Mumbai," said Azmi.
With old Muslim faces like Azam Khan leaving him and a grand OBC alliance with Babri tainted Kalyan SIngh costing him dearly, a course correction in the SP was high on the mind of Mulayam Singh.
The last straw perhaps was Mulayam's daughter-in-law biting dust in the recent Ferozabad by-elections with minority votes clearly shifting to the Congress.
The SP president had, over the last two decades, carefully cultivated the Mualana Mulayam image. But Muslims in the last one year have been leaving him in droves. Having shed the Kalyan Singh baggage, Mulayam is back to wooing his vote bank.
It promises to be an uphill task for him, though.
In the past few years, SP has been in news more for its association with film stars rather than political milestones.
Mulayam will also have to manage the reservations that many of his party colleagues have in regards to Amar Singh.