Controversial Lok Sabha MP Atiq Ahmed, facing trial in a number of criminal cases in Uttar Pradesh, was on Tuesday permitted by an Allahabad court to take part in the special session of Parliament next week during which the United Progressive Alliance government will seek a trust vote on the nuclear deal issue.
Special Judge M P Yadav, while accepting Atiq's application, directed the jail and administration authorities of Mainpuri, where he is currently lodged, to make necessary arrangements for his visit to New Delhi and stay during the proposed two-day parliamentary session.
Earlier on Monday, Atiq, who had come to Allahabad to file his application before the gangster court (special court designated to hear cases filed under the Gangsters Act), had said that he was against any deal with the US "where people of India find difficult to get a visa and where even the country's defence minister is humiliated in the name of security checks."
His statement, which comes at a time when every single vote is crucial for the UPA government's survival, has triggered speculations about the future plans of the Phoolpur MP who evaded a direct reply when asked whom he would support during the floor test, but cryptically added "everything is possible in politics."
After being expelled from the Samajwadi Party in January for "anti-party activities", Atiq has been trying to get friendly with the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress with little success.
While complaining about "harassment" at the hands of the administration and the police, Atiq has repeatedly said that this was "a ploy to defame Mayawati", though such statements have always been followed by clarifications from the BSP government in Uttar Pradesh with people being cautioned against getting "trapped by misleading statements".
The former SP strongman's relations with Mayawati had reached an all-time low after his name allegedly figured in the BSP MLA Raju Pal murder case in January 2005. A number of fresh cases were opened against him after the BSP assumed power in the state last year.
The period also saw worsening of Atiq's relations with the SP, as he voted in the oresidential polls, defying party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's call for abstaining. He had also spoken highly of All India Congress Committee president Sonia Gandhi at that time, notwithstanding the bitter political battle the Congress and the SP were then engaged in.
Recently, another former associate of Mulayam Singh Yadav, Beni Prasad Verma, while disclosing his own intentions of joining the Congress, had described Atiq as "a personal friend" whom he had even met a number of times in jail.