SP keen on giving Congress ‘constructive support’


New Delhi : Making evident its eagerness to be part of the next government, the Samajwadi Party (SP) Sunday extended “constructive support” to the Congress that has emerged the decisive winner after the Lok Sabha elections.

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A day after the Lok Sabha elections threw up a decisive mandate for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), SP general secretary Amar Singh said: “We are for constructive support. We have always put national interest above party interest. It is up to the Congress how much support they want from us and in which form.”

Addressing reporters after a parliamentary board meeting, he said the parliamentary board and party president Mulayam Singh Yadav had authorised him to negotiate with the Congress.

Amar Singh said he had already made congratulatory calls to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi Saturday and would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee later in the evening.

“It is the prerogative of the PM to take us in the cabinet,” he said.

Stressing that his party was “committed to secular politics”, Amar Singh said the SP had bailed out the Congress during the trust vote in parliament in July 2008 after the Left withdrew support over differences on the India-US nuclear deal.

Asked about some Congress leaders stating that the party did not need the SP, Amar Singh retorted: “The comment of one junior individual or a senior leader day before yesterday, including Digvijay Singh and Kamal Nath, does not matter. The Congress is like an ocean. Different people say different things”.

He said that SP had the support of 26 members of parliament, which included two independents. “Our vote percentage has also increased and we have emerged as the single largest party in Uttar Pradesh despite political challenges.”