No party is untouchable: SP
No party is “politically untouchable,” said Mulayam Singh Yadav on Tuesday, in yet another indication that his Samajwadi Party is moving closer to the Congress. However, not yet committing his support to the UPA on the issue of the India-US nuclear deal, he said: “As of now, our stand is that we oppose the nuclear deal.”
Strategies being worked at suggest the SP will continue its opposition to the deal, but rescue the UPA in the event of a vote of confidence on the issue in Parliament.
The Congress has fielded National Security Adviser MK Narayanan to brief SP leaders on the benefits of the deal. Narayanan’s presentation — scheduled at Amar Singh’s residence at 11.30 am — has ostensibly been organised in response to the stand of the SP leaders that if presented by new facts, the party could review its stand on the deal.
After his arrival from the US on Monday, Singh had called on External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, a meeting he described today as being in “personal capacity”. “No political meanings should be read into it, as neither Mukherjee nor me are competent to talk about the nuclear deal,” he said.
Amid reports that Lalu Prasad was brokering the agreement between the Congress and SP, the RJD chief called on Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her residence. Lalu refused to speak to the media after the meeting.
Speaking separately to the media at the SP headquarters, both Mulayam and Singh maintained their ambivalence on the nuclear question, while sending friendly vibes to the Congress.
“There can be ideological differences between political parties, but talks must continue between political leaders,” said Mulayam. Except one political party — read BSP — the SP does not consider any other as enemy, he added.
At the same time, Mulayam maintained the UNPA would come out with one view after their meeting on July 3.
Asked if he would work towards the consolidation of secular forces in the wake of reports of growing bonhomie between the BJP and BSP, Mulayam said he had been working towards that for the past 30 years. The BJP and the BSP have tied up three times, but are willing to do business again, he said. “Advani has now opened his cards (understanding with BSP) and the BJP has declared the SP as ‘enemy number one’ — this is the real issue.”
Singh took a faint dig at the Left by saying that despite incidents such as Nandigram and Singur, the Left and the Congress had continued to support one another. “The SP is nowhere in the picture as of now (relations with Congress), but when the crisis comes, we will see.”