Congress, Samajwadi Party inching closer

June 21st, 2008 - 1:44 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, June 21 (IANS) Amid speculation that the Communists may stop backing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government over the India-US nuclear deal, the Congress and the Samajwadi Party appear to be finally preparing to shake hands. According to Congress sources, a section of its leaders are considering a possible electoral alliance with the Samajwadi Party if the Left withdraws its legislative support to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

Although the Samajwadi Party’s 39 MPs in the Lok Sabha (including two dissidents) will not be enough to make up for the 62 Left MPs, they would be good enough for the Congress to remain in power and complete its five-year term, these sources told IANS.

Already there are clear signs of a patch-up between the foes-wanting-to-be-friends.

While Congress leaders insist that they need a strong ally in Uttar Pradesh to boost the party’s sagging electoral showing, Samajwadi Party members feel there is nothing wrong in joining hands with the Congress to take on the state’s ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

“We have no problem in having a political alliance with the Samajwadi Party because we need a strong ally in Uttar Pradesh,” a Congress general secretary told IANS. However he had a word of caution. “You cannot trust them because both the Samajwadi Party and the BSP play similar politics.”

There is plenty to indicate that the Congress and the Samajwadi Party are ready to end their dragging cold war.

The Congress has informed a parliamentary committee on law and justice that it has no objections if changes are made in the bill reserving seats for women in parliament, modifications the Samajwadi Party seeks.

A section of the Left is aware that both the Congress and the Samajwadi Party are trying to isolate it.

“It is very clear that both are trying to get closer and isolate us on issues like the (India-US) nuclear deal and the women’s bill,” a CPI-M politburo member told IANS.

Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh has declared that his party would reconsider its opposition to the nuclear deal if the government briefed it adequately.

When the UPA called its allies to celebrate in May its four years in government, Manmohan Singh made it a point to walk over to Amar Singh’s table.

Amar Singh is also publicly expressing regret for attacking Congress president Sonia Gandhi in the past.

“Bitter personal experiences and serious misunderstandings must not be the basis of political attitude and strategy. They have to be based on ideology,” Singh said recently.

He went on: “Anyone who is broadly secular will have to agree that under the given circumstances, the Congress is definitely a lesser evil than the communal NDA (National Democratic Alliance).”

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