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Backlash at critics

New Delhi, Nov. 18: Stung by criticism of the clean chit his government provided BJP leaders in the Babri Masjid demolition case, Mulayam Singh Yadav today slammed the Congress and the CPM.

The chief minister said his secular credentials could not be doubted, and blamed the clean chit on a “lawyer’s goof-up”. He said it was only when he read the newspapers that he learned that the omission of the criminal conspiracy charge against L.K. Advani, M.M. Joshi, Uma Bharti and others had been defended.

Mulayam Singh said the lawyer had been replaced and a fresh affidavit filed.

The chief minister revealed his annoyance with the CPM which yesterday termed the government’s move as “surprising” and “very unfortunate”. He reminded the Left that it was his Samajwadi Party that had led the fight against communalism in Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress, which is supporting the Mulayam Singh government, yesterday slammed the government and hinted it may review its support.

A belligerent chief minister today said: “Is it the CPM, the CPI or the Congress which have been fighting the communal forces in Uttar Pradesh or the Samajwadi Party... Our CPM friends have no patience... Comrade (Harkishen Singh) Surjeet had talked to me only two days back... They suddenly launched an assault yesterday”.

Slamming the so-called secularists, Mulayam Singh faulted the then United Front regime at the Centre, which was being supported by the CPM, for installing a Shankarsinh Vaghela-led government in Gujarat in the mid-1990s. Vaghela had then just parted ways with the BJP. The Samajwadi chief said Jyoti Basu was party to the decision.

He said the Samajwadi alone had borne the brunt of “atrocities” of the Bahujan Samaj Party-BJP coalition. Mulayam Singh said moves were afoot to detain him and party colleague Amar Singh under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

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