Congress has dismissed Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s talk of a Third Front as an enduring mirage and conveyed to him that it was ready for polls.
Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi at the same time made it clear that the UPA government will complete its terms and elections will be held as per schedule.
Alvi refrained from making any direct attack on the SP chief or his brother Ramgopal Yadav for their praise of BJP leader L K Advani and erstwhile NDA government but reminded them that post-Godhra riots had happened during the government led by Atal Behari Vajpayee.
“They (SP) support our government. We do not want to comment on what he (Mulayam Singh Yadav) said. But we do not agree with their praise of NDA government. It is the same NDA government during which the communal riots in Godhra and Ahmedabad had happened.
“Everybody remembers the statements of L K Advani after the demolition of Babri mosque. Even after this, if SP praises him, it is their view. We do not agree with them,” Alvi told reporters in New Delhi on Monday.
He was responding to questions on Mulayam Yadav’s praise for Advani and Ramagopal Yadav’s remarks praising BJP-led NDA government and attacking Congress over its inability to keep UPA allies together.
“Governments come and go. Congres is not after power. We do not do the politics of power but of principles. If any matter of national importance comes, we accord first priority to that,” Alvi said.
He said UPA government did not compromise on issues, be it Indo-US nuclear deal, FDI in multi-brand retail or Sri Lankan Tamil issue even as Left parties, which were supporting the UPA I government from outside and UPA II constituents Trinamool Congress and DMK withdrew support on these issues respectively.
Alvi as well as Union Minister Manish Tewari dismissed Yadav’s talk of a Third Front for a national alternative as an “enduring mirage” of Indian politics.
Tewari said if one looks at the history of coalition politics in India in the last 20 years, the reality is that a Third front or a Fourth Front or a Fifth Front has been the “most enduring mirage of Indian politics.”
Party general secretary in-charge for Uttar Pradesh Digvijay Singh said the SP chief has not said something new and Congress is not bothered.
“I do not think there is any possibility of any Third Front. History is witness, whenever the Third Front came into existence; it has collapsed for the sake of power. People of the country do not trust any such kind of Third Front,” Alvi said at the AICC briefing.
Alvi said the SP chief praising Advani and other leaders of his party praising Atal Behari Vajpayee is something with which Congress is not in agreement with at all.
Reffering to the communal riots in Godhara and Ahmedabad and Godhra, he said “we cannot praise any such government. In the eyes of Congress, BJP is a communal party”.
Asked whether SP is coming closer to BJP, Digvijay Singh pointed out that “when he (Mulayam Yadav) became Chief Minister the first time, he had the support of BJP.”
Asked whether Congress is worried over Mulayam’s statement, Singh said “Congress is on its own track. Our track is the policy of Gandhiji, social, secular and ideology of Jawaharlal Nehru, Therefore, we are not bothered.”
Three days after Ram Gopal Yadav had supported Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s style of functioning, he alleged today corruption is rampant in UPA rule and BJP-led NDA government was better at handling graft.
SP, which has 22 Lok Sabha MPs provides crucial outside support to Congress-led UPA.
Alvi, who caveated his responses by saying “we have great respect for all our allies, also strongly rejected Ramgopal Yadav’s attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying this was akin to “insulting the country”.
“Manmohan Singh is not the Prime Minister of Congress only. He is the Prime Minister of the country. His competence, farsightedness and thoughtfulness are praised by all including in foreign countries. If somebody criticizes him like this, then it is like insulting the country,” the Congress spokesperson said on Monday.
Ramgopal Yadav had said a few days ago that “in the present UPA government, people do not feel at all that Manmohan Singh is the Prime Minister. The general impression is that he is being remote-controlled.”
Alvi said the UPA government is stable and will complete its full term.
“Even today, it is a coalition government. Even the last time, there was a coalition government… Nobody knows what will happen in 2014…Congress is always ready for polls,” he said.
The Congress spokesperson also expressed confidence that the government will be able to pass crucial bills like the one to prevent sexual harassment of women at workplaces and women reservation bill, land acquisition bill, Lokpal bill and whistle blower bill in the coming second half of the budget session of Parliament.
Alvi also rejected contentions that the government’s keenness for passage key bills, including the food security bill, now is any indication of an early Lok Sabha polls saying “this has nothing to do with elections”.
On food security bill, he said this will benefit around 80 crore people and shows Congress always stands for ‘Aam Admi’.
“After this law, no one in the country will sleep hungry,” Alvi said.