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Somnath should continue as Speaker: SP

Samajwadi Party appeals to Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterje to continue his post.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 10, 2008 08:24 PM IST

Samajwadi Party on Thursday said that it would like Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to continue on his post and make an appeal to him on the floor of the House to continue.

"We would like from our heart that Somnath Chatterjee continues as the Speaker of Lok Sabha and in fact we would request him from the floor of the House to continue on his post," Amar Singh told PTI in New Delhi.

He was responding to a question on whether the party was trying to promote its Ferozabad MP Ramji Lal Suman for the Speaker's post in case Chatterjee resigns in the wake of Left parties withdrawing support to the UPA.

"There is no deal behind the deal for our party," Singh said.

Asked whether the newly forged Congress-SP alliance would survive post Lok Sabha elections, Singh said, "There would be no shortcoming from our side. However, it would be the prerogative of the bigger party to maintain the relationship; a lot would depend on their policies and their behaviour."

Singh said that as far as issue-based support is concerned, "the only issue for us is price rise and inflation".

"We have only suggested the government control inflation. We have appealed to the finance minister to bring down inflation. If it can't be done then we should be convinced by the government about it, or it should follow our suggestions. It depends on who convinces whom," Singh said.

He said that his objection was only to Murli Deora's comments on windfall profit, and he was not against anybody's removal.

On being asked as to whether SP would address any other grievance with the UPA, Singh said the first priority at present was to save the government. "After that we can sit together and find out ways to solve issues."

"The priority right now is to see that the government successfully comes out of vote of confidence," the SP leader said.

Singh seemed confident about having adequate numbers to win the vote of confidence, even though there have been reports of several rebel MPs within SP fold like Beni Prasad Verma and Raj Babbar.

"Raj Babbar and Beni Prasad Verma would vote for the government on the issue. At the most two party MPs could go against the vote, but the number of MPs would not be less than 37 out of the total 39," Singh told PTI, adding that the party also had the support of independent MP Baleshwar Yadav.

He ruled out the participation of Munawwar Hasan, the party's MP from Muzaffarnagar. Jai Prakash Rawat the other party MP, who had aired his anti-deal views a couple of days back, was another possible omission towards whom he hinted.

Singh, however, dismissed BSP supremo UP CM Mayawati's efforts of trying to lure his MPs. "Our MPs are being threatened and efforts are also being made to wean them away from SP fold by Mayawati. All this angers us. But all these efforts on her part would have no significant effect on our numbers," he said.

He also expressed hope that Left parties would not unite with BJP to vote against the government. "Left parties and BJP can't unite to vote against the government, considering the diverse kind of politics they practice," Singh said.

Singh denied that SP was trying to apply pressure on Mayawati, in the aftermath of reports that CBI would soon be filing an affidavit in Supreme Court in relation to Mayawati's disproportionate assets case.

"We don't believe in playing pressure politics. We don't believe in applying pressure on states through government agencies. This happened against me during NDA regime when a CBI inquiry was conducted against me. But no such thing has happened during the UPA government's tenure," the SP leader said.

He alleged that pressure politics was played only under the BJP-BSP alliance. "The disproportionate assets and Taj corridor cases against Mayawati were incidentally lodged during NDA government's regime," said Singh, adding that now both have joined hands.

He reiterated his allegation that Advani was more dangerous than George Bush, and added that the troika of Advani, Mayawati and Modi needs to be stopped. "We may not have been part of the government in its good or bad decisions during all these four years, but we are definitely with UPA now to fight against communal forces," he said.
Asked for his comments on Left parties' withdrawal, Singh said, "it is an election year and the Left parties cannot wash their hands off their responsibilities. They would have to take credit for the good as well as bad decisions of the UPA government."

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