NDA treated allies better: SP

NDA treated allies better: SP

The Samajwadi Party, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government key partner, on Wednesday said the BJP-led opposition National Democratic Alliance treated its partners “better”.

The comments made by SP General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav in the Lok Sabha have set tongues wagging in political circles as it came on a day when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh government is on a shaky wicket post-DMK’s withdrawal of support.

The SP’s sudden admiration for the BJP has raised questions to ascertain whether it is mere posturing by the regional party to extract its pound of flesh or it genuinely means that it is inching closer to right wing party which has been “communal” to them.

 “The style of functioning of former  prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was better than present (UPA) government,” Gopal Yadav said.

Besides, he was also of the view that the NDA’s coalition was “far more cohesive than the Congress” and that the BJP treated its allies well and, barring 2002 Gujarat riots, the NDA government was better.

Though Ram Gopal was not asked to compare the two coalitions, his comments in Parliament took everyone by surprise.

However, the provocation was Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma’s remark that labelled Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav as “having links with terrorists,” and someone who takes commission for getting work done.

The alleged character maligning attempt by Verma had angered Mulayam who demanded an apology and resignation of the minister.  

Interestingly, that was not a monologue Ram Gopal attempted.

 Inside the Lok Sabha, leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj pitched in to restore the respect what she said a senior leader like Mulayam deserves.

As soon as the House convened after an one hour’s adjournment at 12 in the noon,
Swaraj got up and said: “Mulayam Singh Yadav is a senior leader, but one minister used unparliamentary words against him. Instead of apologising, the minister added another insulting statement. We have differences politically, but such a statement is uncalled for. Government must immediately make a statement on the issue and he should be out of the Cabinet.”

Mulayam was present in the House when Swaraj came to his defence. She demanded that the “the matter should be referred to the privileges committee”.  

Swaraj’s intervention was treated by the BJP leaders as nothing but an attempt to egg on the sweating government. But, party sources do not rule out chance of a post-poll alliance since the two parties were partners in the Uttar Pradesh government a few years ago.  

A senior BJP leader, who did not wish to disclose the party strategy much, claimed that one SP leader had told him that the party will quit the UPA only when they realise that the government is going to fall. And the BJP leader said that the time may come soon for the SP to take a final call.

SP, however, cannot afford to cosy up to the BJP now as it would annoy minority vote bank in the state. 

However, during the budget session, Mulayam had said that his party will not hesitate shaking hands with the BJP provided they give up some issues, including their communal agenda.