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SP sees no scope for seat adjustments with Congress

By J.P. Shukla

LUCKNOW, MARCH 28. The Samajwadi Party general secretary, Amar Singh, today said there was now hardly any scope for seat adjustments with the Congress and added that while his party was honestly interested in having an understanding with the Congress, the latter continued to make contradictory statements.

Talking to newspersons after a meeting of his party candidates, MLAs, MPs and district committee presidents here, Mr. Amar Singh said "three Congress leaders — Arjun Singh, Kapil Sibal and Pranab Mukherjee — had spoken in three different voices. Which of these statements should be taken as genuine," he asked.

He said that when Mr. Arjun Singh threatened to withdraw Congress support to the SP Government in Uttar Pradesh, the party did not refute his statement. "Now, when the entire list of SP candidates has been made public, where is the scope left for any adjustment of seats?"

The latest overtures by Mr. Mukherjee to effect seat adjustments with the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal were only a "face-saving device" of the Congress, he said.

Questioning the Congress' intention in adopting such an attitude towards his party, Mr. Amar Singh said the Congress had realised that it could never be revived in the State without weakening the SP. "All its attempts are now directed at achieving this objective," he said.

The SP leader also spurned the proposal to field a common Opposition candidate against the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It was the Bahujan Samaj Party, a friend of the Congress, which had first announced its candidate to oppose the Prime Minister. "Where is the question now to put up a common candidate against Mr. Vajpayee," he asked.

As for the SP arriving at a post-poll understanding with the Congress, he said that it would be considered after the elections.

Mulayam's constituency

Mr. Amar Singh said the party leaders from eastern Uttar Pradesh wanted the SP president and Chief Minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav, to contest from their region. As per the candidates' list released by the party on Saturday, Mr. Yadav is to contest from Mainpuri. Mr. Yadav was under pressure to contest either from Azamgarh or Jaunpur.

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