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HindustanTimes Wed,27 Aug 2014
Foot-in-mouth: Mulayam retracts Cong comment
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Lucknow, February 15, 2012
First Published: 15:58 IST(15/2/2012)
Last Updated: 01:25 IST(16/2/2012)
Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav addresses an election rally in Allahabad. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Hours after indicating that his Samajwadi Party was ready for an alliance with the Congress to “keep the communal forces out”, party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav issued a categorical denial on Wednesday.

The flip-flop kept the media agog. An SP-Congress post poll alliance in Uttar Pradesh had so far been a speculation of political analysts. The two parties had been careful enough not to hint anything of the sort.

Indeed, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi has so far vehemently maintained that his party has no plans to support the SP or the BSP. On Tuesday, Mulayam’s son Akhilesh also said at Rae Bareli that his party would form a majority government and had no plans to partner Congress in the state.

Under the circumstances, Mulayam’s statement – “If I see BJP coming to power, our party can support Congress in the state to prevent communal forces” —at an informal conversation with the media after the Hamirpur rally raised many eyebrows.

But hours later, he retracted — not only at his next rally in Ramabai Nagar, but also with a written clarification.

“There is no question of supporting anyone,” he said. “I have ample faith on voters and if they want, the SP will form a majority government in UP.”

Attributing the whole matter to a misunderstanding, he said in the statement, “The SP has supported the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre to keep the communal forces out of power and to uphold secularism.”

This is not the first time Singh made such a comment. He has repeatedly expressed his willingness to support any party to keep the communal forces out of power. And his statements have gone down well with his constituency, which comprises minorities.

The Congress response, predictably, was lukewarm.

The question is "premature and unnecessary at this point of time", Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury told reporters in New Delhi. “There has been no pre-poll pact between Congress and the SP. We have not arrived at post-poll scenario as yet.”


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