Atiq Khan

LUCKNOW: With the seat-sharing agreement between the Samajwadi Party and the Congress in Uttar Pradesh for the Lok Sabha elections in tatters, the SP on Saturday accused the Congress of violating the coalition dharma. The party said that by taking the unprecedented step of naming its candidates in 10 seats held by the SP in the 14th Lok Sabha, the Congress showed that it had scant regard for its allies.

The Congress “betrayal” figured prominently in the one-day national executive meeting of the SP here on Saturday with the party reiterating that its unconditional support to the Congress-led UPA government was misconstrued as “surrender.”

The political resolution adopted at the meeting stated that the Lok Sabha poll verdict would make the Congress “regret” its decision not to enter into a seat-sharing arrangement with the SP. “Since the SP’s fight [in the upcoming polls] is with the communal forces and not with the Congress, it would devote its energies to decimate the communal forces in the State,” the resolution added.

SP national general secretary Amar Singh, who briefed journalists on the outcome of the meeting, described the Congress’ move to field candidates in 10 SP constituencies as “uncalled for.”

Mr. Amar Singh said the Congress won nine seats in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls and in three other constituencies it was better placed than the SP.

“We could have settled for 12 seats to the Congress but at our [SP chief Mulayam Singh was also present] last meeting with Sonia Gandhi, a proposal of 17 seats for the Congress was submitted to her,” Mr. Amar Singh said. The SP’s proposal was more honourable than that offered by Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad and Lok Jan Shakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan, he added.

He said had the 10 Samajwadi MPs not voted for the UPA government on the nuclear deal issue, Manmohan Singh would not have continued as Prime Minister. The SP leader reminded the Congress that it was Mr. Mulayam Singh who staved off a crisis and saved the Manmohan Singh government. Continuing in the same vein, Mr. Amar Singh asked the Congress how many seats the party gave the Nationalist Congress Party in Maharashtra.

Mr. Amar Singh blamed a prominent Congress leader for the seat-sharing agreement falling through. He refused to name the leader.

He recalled his meeting with Union Minister of State for Home Sri Prakash Jaiswal, and said the latter had come to explore the possibilities of the alliance being clinched.

Mr. Amar Singh assailed the Congress for its failure to see the writing on the wall following its resounding loss in the recent Bhadohi Assembly by-election, where it finished seventh with 2,000 votes.

Mr. Amar Singh said if the Congress fielded its candidate against Abu Aasim Azmi in North West Mumbai, the SP would field its candidate against Murli Deora and others. Likewise, if the Congress contested against Sanjay Dutt in Lucknow, the SP would reverse its decision not to field its candidate against Priya Dutt in Mumbai.

To contest 76 seats

He said the SP would contest 76 seats in U.P. and would not enter its nominees in Rae Bareli, Amethi, Ghaziabad and Mathura. By not contesting in Ghaziabad and Mathura, the SP wanted to ensure the defeat of BJP chief Rajnath Singh and RLD president Ajit Singh’s son Jayant Chaudhary respectively.