Mulayam keeps Congress on tenterhooks

June 24th, 2008 - 1:40 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Lucknow, June 23 (IANS) Samajwadi Party president and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav has apparently decided to keep the Congress party and the Manmohan Singh government on tenterhooks by holding his cards on the nuclear deal close to his chest. Asked to comment on his party’s stand on the issue in view of the unabated differences between the Congress and the Left parties, Mulayam told IANS Monday, “Well, any decision in this regard will be taken by our third front - the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA).

He said: “This is a national issue and the Samajwadi Party will prefer to take a decision in consultation with the other constituents of the third front, which includes Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Faroukh Abdullah’s National Conference (NC) and Om Prakash Chautala’s party.”

When his attention was drawn to speculation about the possibility of the Samajwadi Party getting closer to the Congress, he shot back, “No one from the Congress has approached any of our party leaders so far.”

Mulayam Singh’s stand on the issue has acquired significance in the light of the growing apprehensions about a possible split between the ruling United Progressive Alliance partners and the Left front on the issue.

With his 39 members in the 543-member Lok Sabha, Mulayam’s support could easily offset the crisis that could spring up in the wake of an uncompromising stand of Left parties .

Last week’s abrupt decision by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati to withdraw the support of her Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)’s 17 Lok Sabha members from the UPA had further aggravated the situation.

Simultaneously however, it gave rise to speculation about an early rapproachement between the Congress and Samajwadi Party. The rivals now see a common political foe in the BSP, whose powerful strides could prove detrimental to both the Congress and Samajwadi Party in the next general elections.

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