NATIONAL

SP not to be part of any front

NEW DELHI NOV. 6. The Samajwadi Party today ruled out the possibility of becoming a part of the Defence Minister, George Fernandes' efforts to bring all the erstwhile socialists under one umbrella.

"As long as he is in league with the Bharatiya Janata Party, we will have nothing to do with him politically," said the SP general secretary, Amar Singh.

The SP leadership once again reiterated that it would not be a part of any front but was willing to support secular parties. " The Bhopal declaration of our party is clear. We will not be a part of any front,'' said Mr. Singh.

He did lament the fact that the Congress had not responded favourably to the SP's offer to have a seat-sharing arrangement in the States going to polls. "We had spoken to the Congress but they were willing to give us a few seats, that too only in Delhi. We do not believe that the battle against communal forces can be fought State-wise,'' Mr. Singh said.

The SP and the Congress have been steadily drawing away from each other and today there was further evidence of that, with the SP announcing its decision to put up a former Congress district president against the son of the senior Congress leader, Arjun Singh. The party also announced its decision to contest 126 seats in Madhya Pradesh, 40 in Chhattisgarh, 32 in Rajasthan and 24 in Delhi.