SP won?t prop NDA
The Samajwadi Party won't help the NDA form another government in case the elections throw up a hung Parliament, even if Mulayam Singh Yadav is offered the Prime Minister's post, the party announced on Monday.
SP leader Amar Singh described the NDA as a "ten-headed monster" (Ravana), and said it had missed no opportunity to victimise SP workers. He added that the BJP, which leads the NDA, had on three occasions denied the SP the chance to form a government in UP.
"Instead, the BJP propped up Mayawati," he said. "The BSP formed governments thrice with the BJP's active support."
Amar Singh claimed there was a secret deal between the BJP and Mayawati; she would get a "clean chit" from the CBI in the Rs 175-crore Taj corridor scam, and in return, the BSP would support the NDA's efforts to form a government. "Instead of strengthening secular forces, Mayawati has always played the tune of communal forces," he said.
The SP leader also announced his party would not field any candidate against Rahul Gandhi in Amethi. "This is our goodwill gesture to strengthen secular forces," he said.
Amar Singh dismissed Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee's assertion that the BJP and the SP were close ideologically, calling it "propaganda" aimed at creating confusion. He asserted that the two parties were poles apart on contentious issues.
Priyanka fears rigging
Priyanka Vadra on Monday called on Chief Election Commissioner T.S. Krishna Murthy and Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami to express apprehension over large-scale rigging in her mother Sonia Gandhi's constituency, Rae Bareli. The Election Commission (EC) decided to deploy an additional observer there.
The EC directed the returning officers in Rae Bareli to make a list of "sensitive and hyper-sensitive" polling stations. Priyanka gave a memorandum to the EC on behalf of the Congress's local unit which stated that "henchmen" of the SP candidate were intimidating Congress workers.