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Cong should initiate more CBMs: SP
May 28, 2008 16:01 IST
The thaw in its ties with the Congress was on Wednesday described by the Samajwadi Party as return of "political civility" which should be followed by "confidence-building measures" by the ruling party.
Seeking to dispel speculation that all was hunky-dory between the two parties after he had attended the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's dinner last week, SP general secretary Amar Singh underlined the "trust deficit" between the Congress and other secular parties.
The confidence level between the Congress and others required to be boosted with confidence-building measures(CBMs), he said borrowing the term from the Indo-Pak diplomatic angle.
He said while he had no personal problem with Congress president Sonia Gandhi [Images] "it would not be proper" to say that he had "a great personal rapport" with her.
Asked about his assessment of Rahul Gandhi [Images], the SP leader described the AICC general secretary as "hard-working, dedicated and laborious".
"His intentions seem honourable but I am not falling in line to call him a great prime ministerial candidate," he said.
Turning to the focus on him at the PM's dinner to mark the fourth anniversary of the UPA government, the SP leader said that Manmohan Singh [Images] had been a gracious host.
"I have publicly stated that I have great regard and respect for him."
The dinner in his view marked the return of "political civility" which was missing after bitter and acrimonious attacks between various functionaries of the Congress and the SP in the last couple of years. But Singh emphasised that the Congress record in treating its allies well did not inspire confidence and cited how the ruling party had dealt with Prime Ministers Choudhary Charan Singh, Deve Gowda and I K Gujral who were all toppled by it. Therefore, the Congress had to "take a call" on CBMs with secular parties, he said.
On ties with the Left, the SP leader said that the two sides agreed on "ninety-nine percent of the issues".
He as well as the party president Mulayam Singh Yadav had told the Left leaders that "we will be with you until you throw us out".
He did not agree with a suggestion that the Left parties were "close to Congress" and insisted that they were opposed to BJP and consider Congress to be the "lesser evil".
Denying suggestions that the UNPA has become ineffective, Singh said the alliance was very relevant and committed to fighting "communal politics".
He said former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu [Images] of the TDP, the National Conference as also the SP would not support communal forces under any circumstances.
Pressed further on SP's reported warming up to the Congress, Singh recalled that out of respect for Sonia, the party had not fielded its candidate from Amethi in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.
"But she shifted to Rae Bareli and we were not in the know of it and nobody made any request," he said.
Singh said that since SP had put up a candidate then in Rae Bareli, it could not withdraw it but Yadav did not campaign in the constituency.
"I have never said that there is a personal problem. In politics there should not be anything personal," Singh said admitting that it was not proper on his part to aggressively retaliate at personal level at the Congress leadership when state leaders like Salman Khursheed attacked him. Asked whether the SP and the Congress have put the past behind them, Singh said it was a loaded question and could be interpreted in many ways.