'Congress ire against me only helps BJP'
Accusing it of failing to effectively take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav said that Congress attacks on him not only caused him mental torture but also weakened "secular forces".
"The Congress has miserably failed to counter communal forces. It has lost power to them in all the states where it was playing a major role-be it Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Bihar or Punjab," Mulayam Singh said in an interview at the Samajwadi Party office at Parliament House in New Delhi.
Decrying Congress attempts to target him, he said: "The BJP will not be defeated without the Samajwadi Party. But Congress leaders cannot digest the fact that Mulayam Singh formed the government (in Uttar Pradesh) despite their harassment.
"Right from day one, (Congress leaders) have been after me and my government. But popular support has saved my government," said Mulayam Singh, sounding bitter in the run up to the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections in April-May.
His remarks come at a time when the Congress-led central government tried to dislodge the Mulayam Singh government and a piqued Samajwadi Party reacted by withdrawing legislative support to the ruling United Progressive Alliance.
Mulayam Singh, who met President APJ Abdul Kalam to complain about the central government's "conspiracy" against him, said he and his party leaders had suffered at the hands of the Congress.
"It is only because of the CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) that they (central government) could not dismiss me," he said.
Mulayam Singh also met Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and Rajya Sabha chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat to complain that the Congress was "misusing the procedures of law" by using the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to "harass him".
He made no mention of the Supreme Court order to the CBI to investigate allegations that Mulayam Singh and his family possessed wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income.
He and Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh have submitted an audiocassette, containing a conversation purportedly between a journalist and Vishwanath Chaturvedi, a Congress activist who went to the Supreme Court against him.
"We will approach the court with a review petition. Because it's the first time in the history that the Supreme Court is ordering a CBI investigation into the chief minister's assets without any proof of corruption or malpractices," said the chief minister.
"Everybody in the country knows that the CBI, which comes under the central home ministry, will not be able to conduct an independent inquiry."