The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mulayam dithers on Sonia

Bhopal, July 28: The Samajwadi Party continued to blow hot and cold vis-à-vis the Congress, refusing to enter into a broad-based “secular alliance” against the ruling NDA but saying its opposition to Sonia Gandhi on grounds on her foreign origin was no longer an issue.

The doors for “seat adjustment” with the Congress were still open, said Samajwadi chief Mulayam Singh Yadav at the conclusion of his party’s three-day national executive in Bhopal today.

The Samajwadi chief, however, vetoed the formula of a national-level coalition led by the Congress, drawn up by the main Opposition party recently at its Shimla meet. “The situation is not ripe for a coalition. Moreover, there is no common programme among non-NDA parties,” he said.

Mulayam declined to either reject or support Sonia’s candidature for the Prime Minister’s post. “It is still premature to consider it,” he said.

“It is not always necessary that the biggest group leads such a formation,” he said in response to the Congress stand that Sonia should lead such a grouping.

The Samajwadi chief said Sonia’s foreign origin was no longer relevant. “The high court and the Supreme Court have given their verdicts that she is a bona fide citizen. It is true that we had raised it, but later on (Nationalist Congress Party leader P.A.) Sangma snatched it from us.”

Mulayam, however, continued to lament the Congress’ “snobbish approach” towards him. “Nobody called me up after the Shimla meet. Sometimes, they (Congress leaders) call up (Samajwadi leader) Amar Singh and if I happen to be sitting there, he passes the telephone to me.”

The Samajwadi resolutions condemned the Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime on virtually all counts, but remained silent on the Congress.

Mulayam Yadav also trained his guns on Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayavati. “She is (the) most corrupt politician,” Mulayam said. The Samajwadi chief said he had to be polite to her because she is a woman.

The Samajwadi leader said his party would go it alone in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi and Chhattisgarh Assembly polls slated for November. “There will be no coalition. However, we can have seat adjustments at a few places.”

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