Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Kalyan Singh may derail ties with Samajwadi Party: Congress

The Congress is all for a tie-up with the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, but it will “take appropriate action” if the latter admits to its fold former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Kalyan Singh who presided over the razing of the Babri mosque.
This is the view of Congress leader Shakeel Ahmad, who is also minister of state for home affairs.
Speaking to IANS, Ahmad rejected Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav’s comments that Kalyan Singh was not to blame for the Babri mosque demolition, which took place when the then BJP leader was Uttar Pradesh chief minister.
If Kalyan Singh contests or officially joins the Samajwadi Party, the Congress “will take appropriate action”, Ahmad said.
“Kalyan is responsible for the Babri demolition and we still believe that the central (security) forces sent to Ayodhya (in December 1992) were not utilised effectively by the state government,” he said.
“Till now Kalyan has not joined the Samajwadi Party. But if he joins it officially or contests election on the Samajwadi Party ticket, we will talk to Samajwadi Party leaders about it.”
But he said the Congress had no problem with Kalyan Singh’s son joining the Samajwadi Party.
Citing the Scindia family, where the political loyalties of the mother and son were divided between the BJP and the Congress, Ahmad said that “communal and secular beings could co-exist in a family”.
At the same time, the Congress spokesman said that his party was confident of the Samajwadi Party putting up a good showing in the upcoming parliamentary elections in Uttar Pradesh.
Ahmad was asked if the Congress would ditch the Samajwadi Party in case the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati bagged more seats in Uttar Pradesh.
“The Samajwadi Party is our ally and will do well in Uttar Pradesh,” he said. But he quickly added that the Congress would also emerge as a strong force in the state that accounts for 80 Lok Sabha seats.
“It’s time for all secular forces to unite against communal politics. The Samajwadi-Congress alliance will help both the parties.”
Ahmad said the move by Hindi film star Sanjay Dutt, brother of Congress MP Priya Dutt, to join the Samajwadi Party and contest from Lucknow was an “individual decision”.
He denied Sanjay Dutt’s allegations that the Congress did not help him during his bad times — when he was in prison.
“When Sanjay was in jail, his father was with the Congress. Sunil Dutt knew more about what was happening outside. I feel it could be Sanjay’s misconception that the Congress disappointed him,” said Ahmad.
With Lok Sabha elections only months away, Ahmad said none of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) partners could bid for the post of prime minister in the coalition. As the largest party in the alliance, the Congress “will occupy the top post”, he said.
Would the Congress change its allies post-election like it did this time in Jammu and Kashmir, ditching the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and embracing the National Conference.
Ahmad said the situation in Jammu and Kashmir was different.
“There the PDP betrayed us. The proposal for land transfer to the Amarnath Shrine Board was approved with the consent of senior PDP leaders. But when protests started against it, instead of taking collective responsibility, the PDP created an issue out of it and led to the fall of (Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi) Azad’s government,” he explained.
What about the DMK’s reported threat to quit the Congress-led UPA over Sri Lankan Tamils?
Ahmad said the Congress-led Indian government was “deeply concerned” about the safety of civilians, especially Tamils. “That is very much evident with the visit of (External Affairs Minister) Pranab Mukherjee to Sri Lanka.”
He rejected reports that the DMK was sympathetic to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
“LTTE is a banned terrorist organisation and its chief (Velupillai) Prabhakaran is an accused in the assassination of our leader (and former prime minister) Rajiv Gandhi,” he added.

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