The Samajwadi Party has finally succeeded in roping in former Foreign Minister Natwar Singh to take on the Congress-led UPA government. Singh would be joining platform with Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and SP General Secretary Amar Singh in Lucknow on February 6 to target the central government.
Addressing mediamen here on Saturday Amar Singh said Natwar Singh, who had long association with Nehru-Gandhi family, would be speaking on “foreign policy and Iraq” at the conference organized by the SP-led Ram Manohar Lohia Trust.
Ever since Natwar Singh was forced to resign from the foreign ministry on Iraq’s food-for-oil scam the SP had been trying to win him over. However Amar Singh evaded query whether Natwar would also join the SP. Singh said Natwar Singh’s son and Congress MLA from Rajasthan Jagat Singh would also attend the conference, which could be a launching pad for Natwar Singh in UP politics.
After departure of Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Chaudhury Ajit Singh from Yadav-led coalition government, the SP had been desperately trying for a Jat leader to counter Ajit Singh in “Jatland” of western UP. The SP feels that Natwar Singh fits the bill.
Justifying plan to hold the conference Amar Singh said the UPA government had been following diktats of the US on Iraq issue and had basically deviated from time-tested country’s foreign policy.
He said UPA government’s stand on hanging of deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was against the popular opinion in the country. Amar Singh said Natwar would dwell on inside story of Iraq at the conference. The conference is thus aimed at keeping Saddam Hussein issue alive till the state assembly election, as it has become quite emotive for majority in Muslim community.
Strongly refuting his association with the BJP, Amar Singh said that the SP had defeated the saffron brigade in last Lok Sabha election. He even accused the Congress chief Sonia Gandhi of hobnobbing with former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Referring to fresh notification in Babri Masjid demolition case, Singh said the government would take appropriate decision in this connection. He said the Congress’ downward slide had started with civic election in Maharashtra and it would culminate with the defeat of the party in Uttrakhand and Punjab assembly election.
Email M Hasan: mhasan @hindustantimes.com