The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Surjeet tells Cong to act

New Delhi, Nov. 1: Unhappy with the Congress’ “wait and watch” on Uttar Pradesh, CPM general secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet today said he wants the main Opposition party to play a more active part in getting rid of the state’s BSP-BJP government.

In this case, that would mean publicly declaring support for the Samajwadi Party, if it were in a position to form a government. “The Congress is not clear on what it wants to do. It should now firmly take a stand,” Surjeet said today.

After the initial reluctance, the CPM veteran is now more than willing to smoothen out the hitches in the way of the Samajwadi forming a government in Uttar Pradesh.

But the Congress has said it will wait for events to come to a logical head before taking the plunge. “It is clear the next government can only be formed with the support of the Congress,” said Surjeet. “Does the Congress want to keep the BJP out'”

During a recent meeting with Surjeet, Congress president Sonia Gandhi made it clear that her party “does not indulge in horse trading”, the CPM leader said.

“It is a correct stand. But why are they now coming out with such statements at such a crucial hour'” asked Surjeet. It was clear that the standoff between the CPM and the Samajwadi — at least between Surjeet and Mulayam Singh Yadav — is over.

Only recently, Samajwadi leader Amar Singh had led a verbal assault on Surjeet and the CPM. But with the Uttar Pradesh crisis coming to a boil, Amar Singh did a volte-face and rushed to Surjeet for his support in mellowing the Congress.

After a few grudging noises, Surjeet yielded and is now back playing his familiar role of a counsel for 10 Janpath. Like in the past, Surjeet’s main objective seems to be to get rid of the BSP-BJP government in the state.

The future of a new government rests with the dissident BJP MLAs, whose revolt against the Mayavati government is being seen as a backlash by the upper castes against the present Dalit dispensation.

But Surjeet is not ready to waste time thinking what may happen if the band of rebels decides to return to the BJP fold.

The CPM leader is in touch with 10 Janpath but there is little likelihood of him having his way with the Congress on the issue. While the CPM does not have anything at stake in this crucial state, the Congress is trying to regain at least some of its lost glory.

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