The Samajwadi Party on Wednesday took another step to firm up its ties with the Congress by praising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a man with an "exceedingly clean image" and urged him to clarify "doubts" about the India-US nuclear deal.
The prime minister must "clear the doubts of the country, parliament and political parties", Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh told reporters after an hour-long meeting with National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan.
"We have been appraised about the nuclear deal. We want the prime minister to clear the doubts," he said. "The prime minister could make a statement in parliament or outside."
Asked how the prime minister should address the nation, he replied: "I am too small a fry to dictate to him."
Amar Singh, however, refused to say where Narayanan briefed him about the nuclear deal, to explain its significance. "They (government) gave us the details and cleared our doubts," he said.
Amar Singh indicated his party's readiness to back the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) by saying he did not want "communal forces" - a reference to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - to come to power.
The Rajya Sabha MP said that Manmohan Singh's "image is exceedingly clean internationally".
"I have not met the prime minister or Sonia Gandhi. My meeting with Pranabda (External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee) was personal. I met him (Monday), he didn't call me. The Congress never came to us. This is the first time they talked to us."
Underlining the importance of his party in this crisis, Amar Singh pointed out that the Samajwadi Party had 56 MPs in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha put together. "It is numbers which add to the power of the political party," he said.
He described the vocal spat over the nuclear deal between the Congress and the Communists as "a domestic quarrel". "We are outsiders," he said.
And taking a dig at the Left, he added: "They were earlier supporting the government like Brahma, now they are doing Shiv 'tandav'."