Nothing wrong in Ambani meeting Manmohan: SP

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Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh at a press conference in New Delhi.
Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh at a press conference in New Delhi.

Special Correspondent

“Reliance chief met Buddhadeb and Basu also recently”

NEW DELHI: Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh on Tuesday said there was nothing wrong in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meeting Reliance Industries Limited chief Mukesh Ambani. Pointing out that Mr. Ambani had met West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and his predecessor Jyoti Basu recently, Mr. Singh said if the same yardstick were to be applied, then those interactions should also have been questioned.

Talking to journalists here, he reiterated that his party made no demands of the government in return for supporting it on the India-U.S. nuclear deal. Describing Mr. Ambani as a respected businessman, Mr. Singh said there was nothing wrong in industrialists meeting the Prime Minister or the Chief Ministers.

“It would be correct to protest if industrialists were trying to dictate policy. But, there is nothing wrong if industrialists meet elected representatives to help the national endeavour to industrialise.” As for his comments on spectrum and the windfall tax, the SP leader said he was merely echoing what was earlier said by others.

“What I said about spectrum is primarily what Ratan Tata and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India have been saying. And, in the case of windfall tax, I am merely echoing the Left view; something that I have maintained all along.”

Criticises Advani

The SP leader assailed Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L. K. Advani for describing him as a “power broker.” “While calling me a broker, Mr. Advani seems to have forgotten his own efforts in 2007 to topple the UPA government. Twice, he sent emissaries to me offering to make my leader Mulayam Singh Prime Minister,” Mr. Amar Singh said.

Stating that Mr. Advani had invited him for the release of his autobiography ‘My Country, My Life’, Mr. Amar Singh wanted to know why the BJP leader put a “broker like me” on his list of invitees.

“He also sent me a copy of the book on March 21,” the SP leader said, pointing to the thick volume.




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