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SP support not conditional: Surjeet

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | May 12, 2004 20:36 IST

Veteran Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Harkishen Singh Surjeet on Wednesday said Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav has not placed any conditions for joining a non-NDA, secular alliance at the centre.

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"I have discussed the matter with Mulayam Singh Yadav and he has not said that he wants to be prime minister. Since the election results are not yet out, the formal talks would take place only after the counting is over on Thursday," Surjeet told newsmen at his residence in New Delhi.

Surjeet is at the centre of a massive exercise to put together an alliance of 'secular' parties that could replace the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance if the latter fails to win a clear majority in the 14th Lok Sabha.

Mulayam Singh Yadav, former prime minister Deve Gowda and Congress leader Jaipal Reddy separately called on Surjeet during the day.

"I have no doubt that the Lok Sabha poll results would follow the same pattern as the Andhra Pradesh assembly results," he said.

Asked if the Vajpayee government would lose its moral right to continue in the office should the NDA fails to get to the half-way mark, Surjeet said: "I feel that the NDA government has lost its moral right to continue after the drubbing in the Andhra Pradesh assembly election."

He said several parties would play a significant role in the new coalition. "Congress being the largest partner would naturally have a greater say. But the others would also have [the space to air] their views," Surjeet said.

Would the venture succeed or would it fail like in 1999?

"How are you saying that we would not succeed? Didn't Deve Gowda become prime minister in 1996? Didn't Gujaral become prime minister? These governments fell because there was division within the Congress and it withdrew the support," he said.

He gave no clear answer when asked if Sonia Gandhi's leadership was acceptable to other parties that are being talked to for this alliance.

"We have only discussed broader issues so far. We would meet again soon after the results and deliberate on these matters. I have no doubt that all those parties who fought against the NDA would join the Congress-led front. All those parties who were part of the Congress-led front earlier would naturally be with us. The Samajwadi Party was also a part of that front. I have not had a discussion with the BSP so far," he said.

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