Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh is keen to renew ties with the Left parties after the nationwide strike call given by 13 non-Congress and non-Bharatiya Janata Party parties on April 27.

Mr. Singh said here on Saturday that he and the leaders of the Left parties have decided to discuss the issue after April 27. His relations with the Left, including the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Communist Party of India, suffered a setback following the SP's decision to support the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government on the India-U.S. nuclear deal issue in 2008.

The former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister “admitted” his “mistake” (of supporting the Congress on the nuclear deal) at a press conference in Lucknow.

With the former SP general-secretary, Amar Singh, removed from the scene (he is alleged to have pushed for an understanding with the Congress on the nuclear deal issue), the SP president said the possibility of renewing the alliance with the Left was discussed at a meeting in New Delhi on April 12. “We accepted our past mistakes and decided to sit after April 27.”

The April 27 strike against price hike and corruption will see the participation of the SP, the Left parties, the Telugu Desam Party, the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Lok Jan Shakti Party, the Rashtriya Lok Dal and the Janata Dal (Secular).

Mr. Singh said the constant rise in the prices of essential items and those of petrol, diesel and fertilizers had crippled the middle class and ruined the poor, the farmers and the labourers. Only a few families have remained unaffected by the price rise, but what is more worrisome is that the rich-poor gap has widened, he said.

Stating that the Centre cannot escape the onus for the inflationary trend in the country, Mr. Singh blamed the Mayawati government for the price scenario in the State and accused it of being a party to the flourishing commission racket in the public distribution system. He said hunger and poverty had increased and that if the situation was not contained, the rural economy of Uttar Pradesh would be decimated.

In the State, the SP has the responsibility for ensuring the success of the nationwide strike. On whether ensuring the strike's success also meant stopping buses and trains, Mr. Singh, evading a direct reply, said: “Party workers know what to do.” He said the strike's success in Uttar Pradesh would ensure its success in the rest of the country.

Taking exception to the criticism of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, JD (United) president Sharad Yadav and himself on the subject, Mr. Singh remarked: “We are fighting for the janata and not for a particular caste.”

On the Indian Premier League controversy, he said the report of the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax Department should be tabled in Parliament in the ongoing House session.

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