The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mulayam hedges on tieups

New Delhi, July 7: Refusing to bury the hatchet with the Congress, the Samajwadi Party today announced that it would go it alone in the forthcoming Assembly elections.

After a meeting of the party’s national executive, Samajwadi general secretary Amar Singh told reporters: “We are not closing the door on any alliance. All we are saying is till now there has been no proposal from the Congress for an alliance in the Assembly elections.”

The Congress, which is the ruling party in all the four states going to polls — Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh — has the BJP as its main adversary.

The Samajwadi has merely four MLAs in Madhya Pradesh and does not have much at stake in the other states.

Both the Congress and the Samajwadi are under pressure from the Left parties to bridge their differences, but they are in no mood to relent. “You cannot clap with one hand,” Singh said.

Asked whether the party would back the Congress in case the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government exits, the Samajwadi leader said: “We are in no hurry to topple the government. If at all the government goes, then we will see.”

Singh put the onus of an alliance on the Congress, but the party is unlikely to make any overtures as the Samajwadi is not by any standards a major player in the four states. “Mulayam Singh Yadav has made it very clear that the party will give and take support for an alliance which can be forged with dignity,” Singh said.

He said his party’s aim was to defeat the BJP at the national and state levels. His ambivalent attitude towards an alliance, however, indicated that the Samajwadi was not ready to make peace with the party that can undercut the BJP’s base in Uttar Pradesh.

The 41-member national executive will meet again in Jamshedpur and Jharkhand next month. “We respect the Congress’ political compulsions in Uttar Pradesh. They should do the same,” Singh said.

In Uttar Pradesh, the Congress and the Samajwadi are eyeing the same minority vote bank. The Samajwadi, which has outdone the Congress in mobilising Muslim votes, sees a threat in a possible resurgence of the main Opposition party in the state.

But Singh maintained that his party was not holding back. “We are not sitting in an ivory tower nor riding a high horse. We have met Sonia Gandhi.”

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