Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Saturday sought to distance himself from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rebel Kalyan Singh but did not blame him for the reverses his party suffered in the by-elections in Uttar Pradesh for which he held the Congress responsible.
"Kalyan Singh was never a part of the Samajwadi Party, nor is he one today and let me also tell you that he will never be allowed to join our party," Mulayam Singh said at a press conference in Lucknow.
Asked how far he held Kalyan Singh responsible for his party's rout in the polls, Mulayam Singh preferred to attack the Congress instead.
"Well, for that matter, we have suffered more on account of other so-called friends, whose government we went all out to save," he said, referring to the Congress-led government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The Samajwadi Party lost all by-elections held Nov 7 to fill 11 seats in the Uttar Pradesh assembly. It was also routed by the Congress in the battle for the Ferozabad Lok Sabha seat.
When it was suggested that his bonhomie with Kalyan Singh alienated the Muslim community, who held the former chief minister responsible for the Babri mosque razing, Mulayam was quick to hit out at the Congress again.
"Why don't you people see how the Congress party ushered in people like (former Shiv Sena leader) Sanjay Nirupam who were responsible for unleashing the worst kind of violence against Muslims?" he asked.
Mulayam Singh declined to answer a query whether he would continue to keep Kalyan Singh's son Rajvir Singh in the party.
"Why didn't you all raise this question when I made him and (Kalyan's Singh's close associate) Kusum Rai ministers in my government?"