No logic in joining UPA so near polls: Mulayam

Written by Nistula Hebbar | Nistula Hebbar | Deepa Jainani | Lucknow | Updated: Mar 20 2012, 06:18am hrs
The UPA government on Monday managed to get the motion of thanks for the President's address cleared in the Lok Sabha with support from Samajwadi Party (SP), an ally it is trying to woo, while Trinamool Congress (TC) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) walked out during voting. However, hopes, if any, of the SP joining the UPA were short-lived, with leader Mulayam Singh Yadav declaring in Lucknow hours later that there is no question of us joining the government.

The remark from Yadav, whose party supports the UPA from outside, is significant: Against the backdrop of its UP debacle and continued sparring with TC, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh and UPCC president Rita Bahuguna Joshi had said the SP could join the Union government, with the caveat that the Congress would oppose the SP in the 2014 polls.

In response to a question, Yadav said at a press conference: Neither have we requested the Congress to include us in the government, nor has it made such an offer so far. When asked to clarify if this meant the party could consider such a move later, Yadav said categorically: I have said the question does not arise. We are not joining the government. Why would we join the UPA government now when it has only one year to go If we wanted to join, we would have joined it earlier.

Yadav, however, added his party would continue to support the UPA to keep communal forces out of power.

The Congress is running a coalition government at the Centre. We are backing it. The Congress has neither invited us to join the government nor have we asked for it, he said.

Mulayam was flanked by his son and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and party spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary at the press conference.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in Lok Sabha that Dinesh Trivedi had tendered his resignation as railway minister. I regret the resignation of Shri Trivedi, Singh said, on a day TC chief Mamata Banerjee had camped in New Delhi to ensure Trivedi was out of Rail Bhavan. Sources told FE that Roy would be sworn in at 10.00 AM tomorrow, and will, despite the Centre's reluctance, reply to the debate on the railway budget. Some rollback in passenger fare hikes is expected.

Refusing to be drawn into the controversy regarding Dinesh Trivedi's exit, Mulayam said it was the UPA's internal affair. He also dismissed talks of an emerging Third Front, saying there was no move by the regional parties to come together to challenge the two main coalitions the Congress-led UPA and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.