Gargi Parsai

NEW DELHI: The Samajwadi Party (SP) said on Thursday it was extending “constructive support” to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government but would not hesitate to criticise it on policy issues.

The party said the Women’s Reservation Bill in its present form was “unacceptable” and it would launch an agitation to press for quotas for Other Backward Castes and minorities in the Bill.

Party general secretaries Amar Singh, Ram Gopal Yadav and Member of Parliament Jayaprada were speaking to journalists here at a joint press conference to welcome the former Minister and four-time Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from the Rampur Assembly segment, Shiv Bahadur Saxena, into the SP. Ms. Jayaprada was elected to the 15th Lok Sabha from Rampur.

On whether the party, with its 23 MPs, was supporting the government or was opposed to it, Mr. Amar Singh said: “I gave the letter of support [of our MPs] to President Pratibha Patil on the orders of the party president [Mulayam Singh]. This does not mean that we are in the government. Even the Left parties had supported the [previous] government [from outside] but were opposed to them on several issues.”

The question was in reference to Mr. Mulayam Singh’s appeal to Meira Kumar, when she was elected Speaker of the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, “to keep in mind the interests of those in Opposition like us [SP].”