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If Buddha can, why can’t we: Amar

New Delhi, Dec. 3: Stung by a CPM-initiated move to discuss the Ayodhya tangle in Parliament on Friday, the Samajwadi Party today fiercely attacked the Left party as well as the Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party, putting the recently-established Opposition unity in jeopardy.

The Samajwadi is defensive over Ayodhya after it filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court in November defending the controversial omission of the criminal conspiracy charge against L.K. Advani and other Sangh parivar leaders in the Babri Masjid demolition case. The Mulayam Singh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh later changed tack slightly after an Opposition outcry.

The Samajwadi said it did not need a “secularism certificate” from the CPM, which it accused of supporting communal parties many a time. “If Buddhadeb (Bhattacharjee) talks to (L.K.) Advani, it is progressive. If we talk, we are bourgeois,” fumed party general secretary Amar Singh.

The Samajwadi and the BSP attended an Opposition meeting convened by veteran CPM leader Somnath Chatterjee yesterday to chalk out a common strategy in Parliament. But today, Mulayam Singh’s party said it would not attend subsequent meetings if the BSP were invited again. The BSP, in turn, said it would stay away if any member of the Samajwadi — which it accused of being a BJP mole in the Opposition — is present at future get-togethers.

“It is for the Congress party and CPM to decide with whom they want to do business. We don’t want to have any truck with those parties and leaders (a reference to Mayavati) who actively campaigned for killer Narendra Modi during the (December 2002) Gujarat Assembly polls,” Singh said.

BSP leader Rashid Alvi, who attended yesterday’s meeting, had expressed reservations about the presence of Samajwadi member Ramji Lal Suman, saying he was there to spy for the BJP. Asked about this, Singh said: “We were not aware of it. But in future we will not participate in any meeting if BSP is invited to it”.

Asked what his party’s strategy would be if anti-BJP and communally sensitive issues were raised in Parliament, Singh said for that, the “Samajwadi Party need not go to Somnath (Chatterjee) or Sonia Gandhi’s chamber. We are competent enough to defend our secular credentials”.

Trying to dispel the impression that the Samajwadi has a tacit understanding with the BJP, Singh slammed the CPM and Prakash Karat in particular. CPM Politburo member Karat had written an article in Peoples’ Democracy last week, doubting Mulayam Singh’s secular credentials.

Taking pot shots at the CPM, Singh said the BJP is virtually absent in Bengal, Tripura and Kerala where the Left is strong. Hence they can fight the BJP only at an “intellectual level”. “But we fight on the ground. We pushed BJP to the third position in Uttar Pradesh, which is the root of communalism. By attacking the Samajwadi, they are weakening secular forces,” Singh said. “We do not need a secularism certificate from the CPM or Karat,” he added.

“There was criticism when we invited Union ministers Arun Jaitley and Arun Shourie (last week) to address ministers and bureaucrats in Uttar Pradesh on economic reforms. Buddhadeb and Somnath Chatterjee also had invited Arun Jaitley. Did they sit in the lap of communalism' (Congress chief ministers) S.M. Krishna and Sushil Kumar Shinde had also invited Jaitley,” Singh said.

“During the United Front regime … home minister Indrajit Gupta felicitated the restoration of the Kalyan Singh government in Uttar Pradesh, which was sacked for a day. Even Jyoti Basu was party to the pro-BJP stand in the name of ‘regional autonomy,” the Samajwadi leader thundered.

“The CPM and others did not allow … Mulayam Singh… to become deputy Prime Minister when I.K. Gujral was Prime Minister. The issue was discussed in Basu’s room. Sitaram Yechuri and Farooq Abdullah were present. But the proposal was shot down.

“Yet we floated the Peoples’ Front with Left parties. But it collapsed following the CPM’s refusal to support the candidature of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for President,” Singh added.

“Immediately after becoming chief minister, Mulayam Singh… stopped the kar sevaks,” the Samajwadi leader pointed out.

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