Monday, October 28, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Mulayam meets Sonia
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 27
Amid rumblings within the Uttar Pradesh BJP and revolt by Independent MLAs, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav today met Congress President Sonia Gandhi and discussed the possibility of an alternative government in Uttar Pradesh.

Mr Yadav, who was accompanied by CPM leader Harkishen Singh Surjeet and party leader Amar Singh, said the talks were cordial.

He said after the meeting that they apprised Mrs Gandhi of the situation in Uttar Pradesh and sought her support.

“We are hopeful,” Mr Singh said when asked about the outcome of the meeting. He added that it was up to the Congress to decide when to come forward to “crush communal forces”.

Mr Yadav said the SP and the Left parties did not support the dissidents in the ruling coalition in UP and the government was falling due to its own internal contradictions

Accusing the BSP-BJP government of “looting” the state, he alleged that it was trying to stick to power by any means. “We have come to the Congress to seek its cooperation,” he said.

SP spokesman Amar Singh said it was for the Congress President and the party to decide how to crush the “demon” of communalism. “The Congress has to do something,” he said.

Sources said the Congress had not made any commitment to the SP so far. Mrs Gandhi told the SP leaders that she would discuss the issue with her party colleagues. The Congress, which has apparently not forgotten the role of the SP when it refused to back Mrs Gandhi’s claim to power at the Centre, has remained lukewarm to the appeals by SP for support. Despite Mr Amar Singh’s earlier meetings with Mr Manmohan Singh and Mr Moti Lal Vora, no assurance has been given by the Congress. The Congress realises that mustering numbers may not be easy even if it were to declare support to a Mulayam-led government. The party is making efforts to revive its base in UP and supporting Mr Yadav at this stage is being seen as “unwise’’ by some party leaders from UP.

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