Debating India

INTERVIEW

"Why Doesn’t Vajpayee Join The SP?"

Poornima JOSHI

Monday 10 May 2004, by JOSHI*Poornima

Mulayam Singh Yadav is furious about his alleged "ideological proximity" with the BJP. He denied having any link with the party in an interview. Excerpts:

Why is the prime minister declaring undying friendship with you on the eve of the elections?

This is a conspiracy to sabotage my election. The BJP and the secular parties are together in this. All the so-called seculars are spreading such rumours about me in UP. I don’t like to take names but you tell me which secular party was here to protect the minorities when they were demolishing the mosque in Ayodhya? My workers died. Let no one teach me secularism. People do not go around announcing alliances on the eve of the elections. It is a ploy to ruin my chances. But let me tell you one thing-it doesn’t work with the voters. They can see through such conspiracies.

You have not done much to contradict the PM’s claims of his closeness to the SP.

Why doesn’t Vajpayeeji join the SP if he feels that there is no ideological difference between us. In any case, he is being attacked by his friends in the BJP, the Shiv Sena and the VHP all the time. We will show him all the respect due to a leader of his stature. He should come with us.

You are saying that the BJP and the secular parties have ganged up against you...

There can be no ideological similarity between the BJP and the SP. Why should you ask me why the PM is making such statements? All these rumours are being spread to ruin our chances. The secular parties are adding fuel to the fire. We understand everything. We also understand why the media is deliberately undermining the SP’s prospects in all these exit polls. But we will prove them wrong.

As far as forming a government at the Centre is concerned, you have no alliance with any of the secular parties. What will be your role after the elections?

I have not closed my door to anyone. Why doesn’t the Congress show me the same consideration they have shown to the RJD in Bihar? Their position in UP is same as our chances in MP. Let the Congress have an alliance with us in MP. Let us fight the seats adjoining UP. Our chances are very bright in seats like Bhind. Let one secular party win in such seats.

Will you be part of a Third Front at the Centre?

Our strategy would be decided after May 13 when our parliamentary board meets. Everything would be clear then. I have said in all my public meetings that we have no tacit understanding with the nda. I can’t help it if the media still creates hype about these rumours.

P.S.

in Outlook India, Tuesday, May 10, 2004.

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