Anita Joshua

Communalism, the greatest threat to the nation: Amar Singh

The Congress and the Left parties are

still in alliance

Choice of Ministers is Prime Minister’s prerogative

NEW DELHI: The United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA), according to its chairman Mulayam Singh, will not do anything that will harm the national interest or strengthen communal forces.

That the Samajwadi Party considered communalism the greatest threat facing the nation was earlier stated by its general secretary Amar Singh while addressing a press conference after a meeting of the UNPA here.

Asked whether the threat of communalism was even greater than the dangers latent in the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal, Mr. Amar Singh said: “Yes, it is the biggest threat.”

According to Om Prakash Chauthala of the Indian National Lok Dal, all the constituents of the UNPA were secular.

“We will have no dealings with communal forces,” he said, adding that the UNPA would emerge victorious after the next Lok Sabha elections and all other parties would make a beeline for this alternative to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the National Democratic Alliance to extend support.

Asked whether the Samajwadi Party would support the UPA in case it was asked to prove its majority in the Lok Sabha, Mr. Amar Singh shot back: “Why are you asking me this question? The Congress and the Left parties still are in an alliance. Let them divorce first; only then will the question arise.”

“SP demands”

About reports suggesting that the Samajwadi Party had demanded the removal of Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Petroleum Minister Murli Deora in lieu of support for the government, Mr. Amar Singh said the choice of Ministers was the Prime Minister’s prerogative.

Denying that his party had sought the removal of the two Ministers, Mr. Amar Singh added that it was for the UPA to decide whether to retain those individuals who were responsible for the galloping inflation and the crisis facing the fuel sector.

Ahead of the UNPA meeting, coalition convener and Telugu Desam Party leader N. Chandrababu Naidu met Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat at the AKG Bhavan. Later, they were joined by CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan.

Mr. Naidu, however, refused to disclose any detail of his meetings with the Left leaders. Nor was he forthcoming on what transpired within the UNPA at Thursday’s meeting, leaving the other leaders of the coalition to occupy centre stage at the press conference.

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