NEW DELHI: With Rahul Gandhi’s political agenda in Uttar Pradesh virtually shelved, the Congress got into mollycoddling its outside UPA supporter the Samajwadi Party, going to the extent of defending the induction of a history-sheeter, Raja Bhaiyya, in Akhilesh Yadav Cabinet.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi quite grandiosely stated that since it was the Chief Minister’s ‘prerogative’, the grand-old party would refrain from passing any judgment. Singhvi’s current compulsion was evident when he said ‘the Samjawadi Party has clarified that the cases against Raja Bhaiyya are politically motivated’. The eagerness with which the Congress was bending to please the SP, which bailed out the UPA Government in the Lok Sabha earlier, was tragicomic.
More so as Singhvi tied himself in knots trying hard to explain Rahul Gandhi’s aggressive campaign against the Samajwadi Party during the Uttar Pradesh elections. “We were using the attributes for the past regime of the SP and not the future. How could we have done that? Akhilesh Yadav has just begun his innings,’’ Singhvi said.
He, however, chose to distance the Congress from the statements made by Digvijay Singh about the party being open to the idea of ‘closer ties’ with the Samajwadis. The talks between the SP and the Congress have begun, but there are ‘quite a few sticky issues’ that need to be sorted out first. “It may not happen in a jiffy,’’ a senior Congress leader said.
However, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav was reluctant to commit himself either way. He denied that there was any move of his party taking up a slot within the UPA Government. “No one has spoken to us,’’ he claimed, brushing aside the suggestion of having a Samjawadi Union Minister in the Manmohan Singh Cabinet.