The Samajwadi Party has declared that it is answerable only to people and not to social activist Anna Hazare or his “self-proclaimed organisation of five members”.
Stung by a letter written this past Sunday by Team Anna to Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh questioning the party's stand on the Lokpal Bill as well as its plans for post-poll tie-up in Uttar Pradesh, party general secretary and spokesman Ram Gopal Yadav has responded in strong words.
“Who are you to question us? As a political entity, the SP is answerable only to the people; not to some self-proclaimed organisation of five members who themselves are not entirely clean,” Mr. Yadav said in his letter.
Charging that the Anna movement is going off-track, he said: “Neither you nor your team represents 125 crore people of the country, yet you want to know why the SP walked out of the Lok Sabha during the Lokpal Bill voting and also the future stance of the party with regard to the BJP and the Congress. I want to know in which haisiyat [status] are you asking this question.”
He said Team Anna was under a misconception if it thought the party would take its decisions after consulting them. If it wanted to raise political questions or give advice, it should join politics. “It is your call.” The party's annoyance stems from the nature of questions raised in public by Team Anna. They've asked Mr. Singh why his party walked out during voting on the Lokpal Bill in Parliament; whether they would tie up with the Congress or the BJP to form a government in Uttar Pradesh if they were in a position to; and whether the party would join the UPA government at the Centre after the U.P. election on the condition that the CBI cases against Mr. Singh on disproportionate assets be withdrawn.
Agreeing that the issue of corruption was “very relevant,” Mr. Yadav said he had said as much when he shared the platform at Jantar Mantar with Mr. Hazare during his fast in April last, but at the same time had stressed that under the constitution, Parliament had the right to enact laws. “Yet you and your team were adamant for acceptance of each and every sentence of your Jan Lokpal Bill. Perhaps you do not understand the feelings of other groups who have stood by you in principle,” he said explaining that his party walked out in the Lok Sabha because it was not in agreement with some provisions of the Lokpal Bill.
Mr. Yadav countered the question on SP's relations with the Congress and BJP by asking whether he, too, should believe the allegations of financial misdemeanour against some Team Anna members and of the movement being supported by RSS and BJP.