NATIONAL

Samajwadi Party to go it alone

NEW DELHI, AUG. 21. The Samajwadi Party (SP) has decided to go it alone in the coming Assembly elections in Maharashtra. The party is also likely to concentrate on 65 to 70 seats, especially in the urban areas, to maximise its chances.

The SP leadership has been holding detailed discussions on the strategy to be adopted and the view is that the party should not spread itself thin and, instead, concentrate on seats that have a sizeable minority and migrant voter presence. "If we work hard, I am sure that the Samajwadi Party will get handsome returns," Abu Asim Azmi, Rajya Sabha member, said.

The party's State leadership is drawing up plans for an extensive campaign by the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav, and other leaders. Party MPs and leaders with influence among the minority community will tour Maharashtra from the first week of September. "The situation is just ripe for us. The Congress-NCP Government has been a huge disappointment, the minorities are now looking towards the Samajwadi Party," a senior SP leader claimed.

To resist temptation

The SP leaders insist that the party should resist the temptation of entering into last-minute electoral alliances, especially with the Congress-NCP combine. They believe that if the party concentrates on its areas of strength it will be able to make its presence felt in a big way.

"The Congress-NCP combine realises that it is losing its hold on the minorities and might want to lure us into reaching some kind of understanding at the last moment. After the elections, they will realise their folly of ignoring the SP," a parry office-bearer said.