Wednesday, February 21, 2024

SP talks alliance with NCP, Congress waits

Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh Wednesday said his party was in talks with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) for an alliance before elections, but the Congress said it remained “committed to try out a pragmatic understanding” with the Samajwadi Party.
Amar Singh said in Mumbai that he will have a meeting with NCP chief Sharad Pawar Thursday to discuss seat-sharing between the two parties.
The proposed alliance would prove beneficial to both parties in the state assembly elections in their respective states where they are in strength – that is, the NCP in Maharashtra and the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh – he pointed out.
Singh’s remarks came in response to a query whether the Congress-Samajwadi Party alliance talks were on the verge of a breakdown.
Though he declined to elaborate, Singh said his party would wait for the Congress response to its charges before taking a final decision over the alliance issue.
But he affirmed that the Samajwadi Party’s Maharashtra state president Abu Asim Azmi would contest the next Lok Sabha elections from the Mumbai Northwest constituency. However, the final decision on this would be taken by the party election committee.
The Congress is touchy about the seat, represented by the late actor and central minister Sunil Dutt and now by his daughter Priya Dutt. Azmi’s candidature from the seat could split the north Indian and Muslim minority voters who make for a large chunk of this constituency’s electorate.
Last month, the Samajwadi Party announced the candidature of Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt from the Lucknow parliamentary constituency, sparking off a feud in the Dutt family.
Priya Dutt openly criticised her brother’s decision to contest on a Samajwadi Party ticket, and said that if Sanjay Dutt wanted to join politics, he could have got a Congress ticket at an opportune time.
Later, Sanjay Dutt unilaterally announced that he would not contest if former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee were to seek re-election from Lucknow.
Amar Singh lashed out at the Congress for using the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to frame party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
“If this can happen to Mulayam Singh Yadav, it can happen to anybody else. The CBI has now become the Congress Bureau of Investigation,” Singh alleged.
Praising Congress president Sonia Gandhi as “a very honest and straightforward person”, Amar Singh said some people surrounding her, like Digvijay Singh, were creating a rift between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party.
In his response, Digvijay Singh, Congress general secretary in charge of party affairs in Uttar Pradesh, advised Amar Singh to focus on the Lok Sabha elections, slated for April-May.
“They (the Samajwadi Party) have some problem. They must consider the national issues facing the country today,” he said in New Delhi. The Congress leader also said the Samajwadi Party leaders should “consider the post-poll scenario too”.
On the possibility of an alliance with the Samajwadi Party, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said: “Knowing the ground realities in Uttar Pradesh, we remain committed to try out a pragmatic understanding with the Samajwadi Party to put up a joint fight against anti-people rule of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).”

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