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I'm ready to quit the NDA: George Fernandes
September 23, 2006 12:48 IST
Marginalised in his party after losing the election for its top post, former Janata Dal (United) president George Fernandes has said he does not care if his ties with Bharatiya Janata Party and party colleagues Sharad Yadav and Nitish Kumar break over his invitation to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav to a gathering of socialists here next month.
"None of them has any use for me and I don't think they will miss me," Fernandes told Karan Thapar on the Devil's Advocate programme on CNN-IBN.
The JD(U) leader said 'yes' when asked if he did not care if his relationship with BJP, Kumar and Sharad Yadav broke over an invitation to Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is viewed by the BJP as its rival in UP.
Asked if his invitation to the UP chief minister to a function to mark the death anniversary of Ram Manohar Lohia on October 12 would create a rift between him and BJP, the National Democratic Alliance convenor replied in the affirmative.
"Yes, of course, the BJP does want to defeat Mulayam but I have always stood by Mulayam and here also I stand by him," he said.
Fernandes said he did not care what BJP thought about his invite to Yadav. On being asked if he was thinking of resigning from the JD(U) and quitting his parliamentary seat as well, Fernandes said 'so be it'. He nodded when asked whether he was prepared for the final break.
Maintaining that he and Mulayam had been together for almost 40 years, Fernandes recalled their days in the Socialist Party. He also said the SP leader was 'the only man who understood what that Tehelka incident was and stood by me'.
To a question whether he would join Samajwadi Party, Fernandes said, "I have other options."
He hinted that the re-launch of Samata Party could also be thought of.
Fernandes agreed it was right to say that he wanted to keep his distinct identity but would like it to be as close to Mulayam as possible and it would be done by re-launching Samata Party. He also said he was ready to leave the NDA of which he is the convenor.
Fernandes felt he has been let down 'to an extent' by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
"I was the one who brought him into the party and I spent three years of my life in Bihar to see that the state comes out of the situation in which it was and when it did, I had to go out," he said.
Fernandes said what really rankled him was the manner in which Kumar reneged on a commitment to nominate Jaya Jaitely for the Rajya Sabha. "This was something which I couldn't accept," he said.
The JD(U) leader, who lost to Sharad Yadav in the JD(U) presidential elections earlier this year, said the election was rigged and suspected it could have been done at Nitish Kumar's instructions.
Fernandes said he felt humiliated when Kumar referred to him as 'esteemed leader'.
About his comments on the law and order situation in Bihar and 'rampant' corruption in the state, he said, "This is what people are telling me and I am inclined to believe it."