'My stand has been vindicated'

Print edition : November 15, 1997

Defence Minister and Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav says that political developments in U.P. following the October 21 incidents in the Assembly have vindicated his position that horse-trading was the basis for the survival of the Kalyan Singh Government. Ridiculing Kalyan Singh's claim that MLAs from other parties supported the BJP in the vote of confidence out of "affection" and not for material gain, he said: "If this is affection, it should create a record of sorts in the love history of the world." Excerpts from an interview he gave Venkitesh Ramakrishnan:

How do you analyse the situation in Uttar Pradesh after the expansion of the Kalyan Singh Ministry?

The so-called Ministry expansion has completely exposed the BJP. Never have political defectors been treated with so much respect. One has heard of defectors being rewarded with money and positions of power but making them all Ministers was never heard of. I had always held that horse-trading was the basis for the survival of the Kalyan Singh Government. My position has been vindicated.

Kalyan Singh maintains that there was no pressure on him to offer ministerial positions to his allies and that they have all come to the BJP with affection.

If this is affection, it should create a record of sorts in the love history of the world. Obviously there was pressure on the BJP; this is bound to aggravate the problems in the BJP; many MLAs and leaders are unhappy with the exercise.

It has also created a chain reaction in the Congress at the Centre and in Gujarat. That might work to the BJP's advantage.

Whatever gains it makes will be temporary. But the real impact of the whole sequence of events is that the BJP's pretension to being a party with political morality has been demolished.

Considering the pressures on the Congress, will you, in the interest of unifying all anti-BJP forces, welcome the inclusion of the Congress in the Central Government?

The S.P. alone cannot take a decision in this regard. It has to be done collectively by all the constituents of the U.F. The S.P. believes it is important to continue the struggle against communal forces unitedly and effectively. Ministries will come and go. But the struggle for protecting the secular character of the country should go on.

Following the publication of details of the Jain Commission report, there are indications that sections of the Congress will pressure its leadership to withdraw support to the U.F. Government.

I cannot react to hypothetical situations.

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