The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mulayam jab at secular Cong

New Delhi, Nov. 12: Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and general secretary Amar Singh today blasted chief minister Mayavati for the police action against party leaders in Lucknow yesterday during rallies protesting the “misrule” of the Uttar Pradesh government.

Amar Singh, who was allegedly roughed up while leading the demonstrators, said he would move a privilege notice against the guilty police officials and take the matter to the National Human Rights Commission.

But it was Sonia Gandhi’s declaration at Mount Abu that the Congress is willing to have alliances with secular parties that dominated the joint briefing the two Samajwadi leaders gave after a meeting of their party’s parliamentary wing.

Mulayam welcomed Sonia’s declaration at the recent conclave of Congress chief ministers but added in a sarcastic jab that secular unity should begin from Uttar Pradesh. It was a clear reference to the Congress, which had not backed his bid to topple the Mayavati-led Bahujan Samaj Party-BJP government.

Asked if he would back Sonia for the post of Prime Minister, Mulayam said the question was redundant as there were no parliamentary elections now. But he proceeded to correct what he said was a wrong impression, asserting that he had never opposed Sonia’s candidature for the country’s top job after the fall of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1999. “I was ready to join the coalition government contrary to media reports,” he said.

Mulayam came down heavily on Uttar Pradesh Governor Vishnu Kant Shastri for refusing to convene a special session of the Assembly and ask Mayavati to prove her majority.

“The Governor is flouting all constitutional norms and is behaving in a biased manner,” he said, demanding Shastri’s recall. “No Governor has ever acted like this.” The Samajwadi chief said he would appeal to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to sack Shastri.

In response to a question, Mulayam said his party will contest the Gujarat elections on its own. “We have decided to contest the Gujarat Assembly elections on our own strength. The party’s state unit will decide the number of seats to be contested,” he said.

He said the Congress has made it clear it would not have any alliance with the Samajwadi in Gujarat. “So, we have decided to fight on our own.”

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