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|January 7, 1998||
Gujral should not contest from Jalandhar: Mulayam
Union Defence Minister and Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav today came out openly against Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral contesting the Lok Sabha election from Jalandhar with the Akali Dal's support.
Addressing the media, the defence minister described the Akali Dal as a 'communal party'. If Gujral chose to contest from Jalandhar and the Akali Dal supported his candidature, the Samajwadi Party would keep off the electioneering in that constituency, he said.
''We shall not compromise on principles,'' he said.
Yadav's objection to Gujral being backed by the Akali Dal was on the ground that it was an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party, his principal political foe.
Yadav was also critical of former prime minister and United Front chairman H D Deve Gowda for his reported remarks against the Samajwadi Party for admitting several Janata Dal leaders in Uttar Pradesh.
''If the chairman himself crosses his limits, what can I say?'' he said.
Yadav refuted the charge that he was encouraging division in the Janata Dal.
''If my party admits the JD members who are on the verge of joining the BJP, what is wrong in it? I am only preventing the BJP from gaining strength.''
Asked about the impact of the 'Sonia factor' on the coming election, Yadav said her decision to lead the Congress campaign had affected the BJP and the Congress itself. He, however, did not elaborate.
Asked about his relationship with the Congress, Yadav made it clear that his party was determined to checkmate the BJP and the SP's position on that count was 'crystal clear'.
Asked whether he was in the prime ministerial race, Yadav said his party was not fighting for the posts and the prime minister would be picked up by the elected members of the House.
Asked whether he was supporting West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu as the United Front's prime ministerial candidate, the SP leader said he had proposed Basu's name earlier. ''Now I do not take any one's name.''
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