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Cong is an incorrigible political flirt: Amar Singh
March 22, 2004 20:13 IST
The Samajwadi Party is angry with the Congress party for not taking it into confidence before announcing its candidates for Amethi, Rahul Gandhi, and Rae Bareli, Sonia Gandhi.
An angry SP general secretary Amar Singh called the Congress 'an incorrigible political flirt'.
Blaming the Congress for the failure to form a secular front against the Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttar Pradesh, the SP cleared 63 candidates in the state, including cine star Jaya Prada from Rampur, but left out Amethi from where Congress is fielding Rahul Gandhi.
Asserting that it had held back the announcement of the candidate from Amethi, Singh said he had no inkling that Congress chief Sonia Gandhi would shift to Rae Bareli.
"The blame for no secular front alliance being formed against the BJP goes to the Congress," he said. He accused it of spurning the SP offer several times in order to have truck with the Bahujan Samaj Party and even threatening to withdraw outside support to the SP government in UP to 'impress' the BSP.
Ruling out any pre-poll tie-up, barring the one with Rashtriya Lok Dal, Singh said the Congress was 'not in a position to give a challenge to the BSP and BJP in the state'.
He, however, kept the option open for participation in a post-poll secular front government comprising Congress.
"No," said Singh, at a press conference, when asked if the SP would withdraw or reconsider the decision of fielding Ashok Singh from the Rae Bareli seat.
"His candidature was announced on March 15 last and he has already started campaigning there," he said.
While SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's brother Ram Gopal Yadav is being fielded from Sambhal, candidature for the Mainpuri seat was not announced amid speculation that Mulayam would himself contest from there.
The party has re-nominated 17 MPs, 16 former MPs, two ministers and three MLAs in the current list of 63 candidates from UP.
Apart from Amethi and Mainpuri, the nominations for Balia, the traditional seat of former prime minister Chandrashekar, Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Shahbad and Fatehpur were not announced.
Besides Jaya Prada, the other cine star to feature in the list is Raj Babbar, who is seeking re-election from Agra. The party's list contained the names of 12 Muslims and six women, including Madhu Gupta, who is pitted against Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Lucknow.
It has announced the candidature of Revati Raman Singh from Allahabad, where HRD minister Murli Manohar Joshi is seeking re-election. Former Union minister Beni Prasad Verma will take on Arif Mohammad Khan who recently joined the BJP from Kaiserganj.
The party also announced three candidates each from Bihar and Madhya Pradesh and one from Haryana, prominent among whom was former Congress President Sitaram Kesri's brother Rajiv Ranjan Sahu from Sitamarhi in Bihar.