Picking signals of disquiet amongst constituents of the fledging United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) over its party’s reported closeness with the Congress, Samajwadi Party (SP) leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh closed ranks on Monday by asserting that there was no truth in such reports.
In a telephonic interview from the United States, SP general secretary Amar Singh told NDTV that he had not been in touch with any Congress leader and that such suggestions were only being debated in the media.
Speaking to reporters in Lucknow, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said that the UNPA partners would adopt a common approach after analyzing the political situation at a meeting scheduled for July first week.
Reports of growing bonhomie between the Congress and SP had come to threaten the very existence of the UNPA — with the Asom Gana Parishad — a constituent partner- having warned that it would "disassociate itself " from the grouping in the event of a decision by the SP to extend support to the Manmohan Singh government on the nuclear question.
"I do not know about the SP, but the AGP will walk out of the UNPA in the event of any formal understanding being reached with the Congress at either the national or state level", AGP acting president Brinadaban Goswami said.
Speaking to HT, Goswami said he would raise this issue at next month’s meeting of UNPA partners.
Coming out in strong defense of the relevance of the UNPA, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) chief Om Prakash Chauthala said that "unlike the wishy washy approach of the Left parties", the UNPA partners were firm in their opposition to the nuclear deal and would even compel the government to take a vote of confidence in parliament. "The UNPA partners stand together solidly like a rock", he said.
UNPA coordinator and former MP, N Ramamohan Rao did not see much amiss about the SP-Congress affair, as "even the Left parties were supporting the UPA government, while fighting against it on public issues".
Each constituent has its perceptions, but the real picture of the UNPA will emerge only in the post-election scenario, he said.
Jharkhand Vikas Party (JVP) President Babulal Marandi also believes that there is no more than media speculation to reports about the possibility of a Congress-SP tie-up.
SP leader Shahid Siddiqui said the enemity between the Congress and SP had been overcome — that there was nothing more to the story.