The Straits Times
Published on Oct 01, 2012

Ex-wrestler props up India's PM, but he may want the job


LUCKNOW, India (REUTERS) - As a former wrestler, Mulayam Singh Yadav has got India's government where he likes it - in a vice-like grip.

The ructions over fresh economic reforms that reduced the ruling coalition to a parliamentary minority last month left Prime Minister Manmohan Singh dependent on this wheeler-dealer from the country's dusty northern plains.

In an interview with Reuters, Mr Yadav insisted there were no strings attached to his support for Singh's Congress party, just a desire to keep the opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) out of power.

"We are supporting them," he said in the Hindi language, looking hearty for his 72 years despite rumours earlier this year that his health was failing. "There are no conditions of any kind, it's only to ensure communal forces do not get strengthened."