The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mulayam rules out Cong tie-up

Agra, March 14: Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav today ruled out a tie-up with the Congress in the November Assembly elections but said he was willing to back all democratic, secular parties “on issues”.

Stung by the Congress refusal to join him in his fight against Mayavati, Mulayam gunned for Sonia Gandhi. Those “near” the Congress chief should advise her correctly, he said.

“Unless a long and united action is achieved in practice, how can we go for seat adjustments to merely fight the BJP-BSP in the coming elections'” Mulayam asked.

He said that after the Congress victory in Himachal Pradesh, its attitude had changed. “We are happy the Congress won there. But again it is showing arrogance. The Congress must understand that Himachal is a small state with just four Lok Sabha members.”

Mulayam rued that when Mayavati targeted his relatives and party workers in connivance with the BJP, the Congress kept mum. “After all, the leader of Opposition is not just Congress president. They never take any initiative on issues. When I was leader of Opposition in the Uttar Pradesh legislative Assembly, I took up the case of everyone,” he said on the sidelines of the Samajwadi’s three-day convention.

“The leader of Opposition should have intervened on the videotape issue in the Lok Sabha.... I don’t know what is the objective of the Congress,” he said. Mulayam added the Congress was expected to play the opposition party in the true sense, “but this did not happen”.

Party sources said Mulayam was critical of Sonia’s style of functioning. A recent example, they said, was Sonia inviting Opposition leaders for talks on the women’s reservation Bill but issuing a statement supporting the Bill before the discussion.

Mulayam, they said, had not taken kindly to Congress leader Margaret Alva’s alleged indifference to Uttar Pradesh. Last week, when Alva was in the chair, Yadav stood up to raise the Uttar Pradesh issue but she “arrogantly told him to sit down”. Yadav felt insulted, the sources said, as he was once defence minister and is the leader of a big party in a big state. Alva’s attitude exposes the Congress mindset, they said.

Mulayam said the Samajwadi’s main fight was against the BJP and the RSS. “On this front, the Congress is compromising. I am not saying that they are consistently compromising, either they are not understanding the danger of the BJP-RSS or there is something else.”

The Congress may be a big party “but we defeated the BJP thrice in Uttar Pradesh, but the Congress was replaced by the BJP not Samajwadi Party”, he said. “My fight is not against Mayavati, she is a small fry in our scheme of things.”

Mulayam added Sonia must order a probe into how eight legislators deserted the Congress and who was responsible for it.

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