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Congress, allies veering around to Manmohan as PM

May 19, 2004 10:30 IST

Political activities picked up early on Wednesday in the wake of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi declining to be prime minister with her party MPs said to be veering around to accepting Manmohan Singh as an alternative and allies calling on him.

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There were reports that MPs from different states will meet separately and authorise Sonia Gandhi to nominate Singh as the Congress Parliamentary Party leader obviating the need for another CPP meeting for the purpose.

Another report said that a draft letter proposing Singh as CPP leader, circulated by the high command, would be approved by the MPs and forwarded to Gandhi later in the day.

Meanwhile, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhaghan chief Vaiko called on Singh and later told reporters that his party regarded the leadership issue as an internal matter of the Congress. He discussed the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) with Singh.

Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh said his had extended support to the Congress even without being asked in the interest of secularism. "There cannot be a fight against communalism without the soul (the SP)," he said.

He said the Samajwadi Party would join the Congress-led government if the Left parties also did so.

After a meeting with Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Harkishen Singh Surjeet, Amar Singh said, "The contradiction that the Left parties faced in joining the government equally applied to my party, which fought a bitter battle against the Congress in Uttar Pradesh and some other states.

"We have decided to support Congress not as a choice but as a lesser evil," he said.

His party also treats Gandhi's refusal to be prime minister as an internal matter of the Congress.

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