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SP threatens to withdraw support to UPA government

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Samajwadi Party (SP) general secretary Amar Singh on Monday threatened to withdraw support to the Congress-led government at the Centre, charging that it publicly said it did not require the SP’s support.

Addressing journalists via video conferencing from his hospital room in Singapore, where he is convalescing after a kidney transplant, Mr. Singh said he had urged party chief Mulayam Singh to convene a meeting of the national executive and take a firm stand on the matter as this time a young and important general secretary had made the statement.

“If it had come from someone like Digvijay Singh, I’d have ignored it,” he said, referring obviously to Rahul Gandhi’s statement during his recent visit to Uttar Pradesh.

Underlining his desire that the party withdraw support to the UPA government, Mr. Singh was apologetic about forcing the SP into extending support to the Congress in the first place, despite warnings by senior colleagues, including Mr. Mulayam Singh and senior leader Janeshwar Mishra.

He invited the SP chief’s son and Uttar Pradesh party unit chief Akhilesh Yadav to Singapore to discuss the issue and said he was in touch with all party leaders and workers. He wanted the party to deliberate on the matter and take a decision without waiting for his presence.

Mr. Singh said it was unfortunate that the Congress considered the SP support dispensable though his party had bailed out the Congress when it was down in the doldrums after the Left withdrew support and after it lost several State Assemblies.

Taking exception to the Congress’ stand that it would have to give representation to the BSP as well if the SP was made a member of the coordination committee at the Centre, he said the Congress should choose between the two, keeping in mind that the BSP voted with the BJP on the nuclear deal. The SP would not share the boat with the BSP.

Mr. Singh, however, minced no words in justifying Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Rita Bahuguna’s statement against U.P. Chief Minister Mayawati, underscoring that the latter had also stooped low when she allegedly made derogatory remarks against the SP president and the then Chief Minister.

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