The Congress on Thursday hit back at Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav for accusing it of being “cheat and clever” as it reminded him that he had shared the dais with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when the UPA’s report was released last year.

It asked Mr. Yadav, whose party is supporting the government from outside, to decide whether he was with the secular or communal forces as it questioned his praise for BJP veteran L.K. Advani.

“We do not want to comment on the remarks of Mulayam Singh Yadav. He himself can explain them best. But only a few months back, Mr. Yadav shared the dais with the Prime Minister. Now all of a sudden, he is criticising the Congress and its leadership and appreciating L.K. Advani and the NDA, whereas the fact is that Mr. Advani and other BJP leaders had a role in the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the communal riots in Ahmedabad and Godhra that took place during the NDA rule,” party spokesman Rashid Alvi told PTI.

Union Minister Manish Tewari also targeted the SP chief.

“As far as Mulayam is concerned, we respect all our allies. He also knows that the basic polarisation in this country is communal versus secular forces. He will also have to decide which side he is on,” Mr. Tewari told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

He dismissed Mr. Yadav’s idea of a Third Front as the “most enduring mirage” and expressed the hope that the SP, which had extended “very constructive support” to the UPA government, would continue that and “the atmosphere of harmony will prevail.”

Mr. Yadav had said recently that coalition politics had come to stay in the country and asked like-minded parties to come together. — PTI