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Buoyant Congress talks of forming next govt

April 28, 2004 04:06 IST
Last Updated: April 28, 2004 04:41 IST

In the backdrop of the not-so-encouraging exit poll predictions, Bharatiya Janata Party leaders met in Delhi to review the scenario even as the main opposition Congress asserted that it, along with allies and Left parties, was heading for a 'clear majority'.

"There is no need for thinking about post-poll alliances. We are confident of getting a comfortable majority. We don't believe in the philosophy of untouchability," BJP president M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters after the review meeting attended among others by Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani.

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He parried questions on the possibility of tying up with Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party after the elections.

An internal BJP survey at the end of second phase of polling claimed that, along with allies, the party would secure 83 of the 136 seats that went to polls on April 26 but admitted it was under pressure in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

Buoyed by the exit polls, Congress spokesman S Jaipal Reddy said, "We and our allies and Left parties will have a clear majority in this elections. We do not share your (media) opinion that the 14th Lok Sabha is likely to be hung. Trends indicate that secular forces will get a clear verdict."

He also appeared to keep his party's options of a tie up with SP and BSP open saying, "The doors are being shut only for those who are allies of the ruling BJP in this electoral battle."

Congress sources said if the NDA fails to get a majority, parties like Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party would be 'compelled' to join the non-NDA front.

The exit poll results after the second phase on Monday also prompted some other parties to declare their post-poll positions. The Samajwadi Party and its arch rival Bahujan Samaj Party, both with a good standing in Uttar Pradesh, ruled out any tie up with the BJP in government formation.

In reply to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee statement that his party had identical views with the SP on many issues, party chief and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav said his party would 'never support' the BJP in forming a government and do everything to prevent it from coming to power.

Mulayam Singh Yadav's lieutenant Amar Singh made a sharp attack on the Prime Minister and the BJP seeking an apology from them for the Gujarat carnage. 

"If Vajpayee did not find any ideological differences with the SP, he can join our party after explaining to the country the Best Bakery matter, the Gujarat massacre and other contentious issues and tender an apology to the country," he said.

Meanwhile, senior BJP leader and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh said he is not 'competent' to comment on the Prime Minister's statement that the BJP and SP were 'ideologically close'.

"They (SP) have a different ideology and we have a different ideology," was all he was willing to say when asked to comment on Vajpayee's remarks.

Another potential player in the post-poll situation, BSP president Mayawati said her party would not have any political alliance with the BJP in the future.

The Left parties also asserted that an 'alternative secular' government would be in place after the elections.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechuri claimed that the NDA would be 'fairly short' of a majority. The leadership issue, he said, would be decided after the polls.

"Whether a single party is supported by other secular forces to form the government or secular parties form a government together, one thing is that there will be an alternative government at the Centre and it will come about following the defeat of the NDA.

"Who will lead the government will depend upon the number of seats these (secular) parties get," he said.

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