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Numbers game: Bardhan meets RLD chief Ajit Singh

July 17, 2008

Communist Party of India General Secretary A B Bardhan with Rashtriya Lok Dal president Ajit Singh in New Delhi on ThursdayIn its efforts to mobilise parties against the UPA Government for the July 22 trust vote, the Left on Thursday reached out to the Rashtriya Lok Dal, but its chief Ajit Singh remained non-committal on the issue.

CPI general secretary A B Bardhan drove to Singh's 12 Tughlak Road residence today morning to seek the support of the RLD and explained the Left stand on the government during their meeting which lasted about an hour.

"I have apprised him about our (Left) position. He explained his stand...It is not easy (for the RLD) to take a decision," Bardhan told reporters after the meeting.

Singh said he heard the views of "experienced and old friend" Bardhan on the recent political developments and that he will discuss with party colleagues the issues raised by the top CPI leader before taking a decision.

Bardhan said he discussed the current political scenario with Singh, the inheritor of the legacy of former prime
minister Charan Singh who brought farmers to the national mainstream.

"He (Singh) will take his own decision," Bardhan said. Asked why he was taking time to decide on the party line
on the trust vote, the RLD chief said, "there is nothing wrong in taking decision a little late", adding that Bardhan has presented "some new facts".

 Singh said both the leaders had a detailed discussion on what should be done and that he had not spoken to BSP chief
and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati for a tie-up for the trust vote.

On the nuclear deal, he said: "I'm against the nuclear energy but I never said that I am opposed to the deal.  "Bardhan has provided some new facts... Let us discuss (before taking a decision)," he said.

 To a question whether the Congress was resorting to "appeasement" tactics to ensure support of smaller parties, he
said, "why only smaller parties, what about appeasement of bigger parties.

"In coalition politics, both the ruling and opposition parties try to align with as many parties as they can. There
is nothing new in it."

On the government proposal to name the Lucknow airport after his father, Singh said he welcomed it even though it was
coming late. 

He said he did not view the move as a Congress attempt to appease him before the trust vote. "I think it is a right
decision taken a little late," Singh added. 

Congress managers have already approached the RLD to ensure numbers on their side for the trial of strength, but Singh is keeping his options close to his chest and has announced that he was not in a hurry to take a decision.

The 59-member-strong Left parties are engaged in an aggressive bid to topple the Government and have already spoken to parties like the BSP, TDP and TRS.

Bardhan had last week set the ball rolling by first talking over phone to BSP chief Mayawati followed by his CPI(M) counterpart Prakash Karat's visit to her residence.

A senior CPI leader from Andhra Pradesh opened a channel of communication with the TRS, which announced that it would vote against the Government in the wake of UPA failing to pass a resolution giving a commitment on the issue of formation of a separate 'Telengana'.

Karat had earlier said he was in touch with all parties which can take a stand against the Indo-US nuclear deal, an issue which prompted them to withdraw support to the Congress- led government reducing it to a minority. 

Image: Communist Party of India General Secretary A B Bardhan with Rashtriya Lok Dal president Ajit Singh in New Delhi on Thursday.

Photograph: PTI Photo by Kamal Singh.

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