SP demands all-party meeting on Maharashtra situation

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New Delhi, Oct 31 (UNI) The Samajwadi Party (SP) today demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh convene an all-party meeting to evolve a response to the situation in Maharashtra.

Holding the Centre fully responsible for the attacks on north Indians in the state, the SP, an ally of the ruling Congress at the Centre, said firm action to curb the activities of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray was urgently needed.

The same party, which is ruling in the state, was in power at the Centre, so the latter could not wash its hands of what was happening in the state, SP General Secretary Amar Singh told mediapersons here while briefing them about party Parliamentary Board meeting.

He, however, ruled out the possibility of withdrawing support from the UPA government over the issue, saying such an act was irrelevant in an election year.

Mr Singh said the issue should be discussed at an all-party meeting to arrive at a coordinated response to the volatile situation prevailing in the Congress-ruled state.

When asked whether he would demand invocation of Article 356 in the state, the SP leader said Mr Ramvilas Paswan, who was in the government, talked of dismissal of the state government, and another Cabinet Minister Lalu Prasad also talked of firm action, but they have not been unable to make the Centre act so far.

Mr Singh said his party had apprehensions about the ability of the Centre to act firmly in response to such situations, and that was the reason it chose not to join the Cabinet.

''We are not satisfied with the Centre's response so far. We want full protection of the life and property of north Indians,'' said Mr Singh.

He also rapped his party's ruling ally for not ordering judicial probe into the Jamia Nagar encounter.

Though the Prime Minister and Congress President Sonia Gandhi have been listening attentively to the SP demand raised at various fora like the SP-Congress coordination meeting and National Integration Council meeting, but it was sad that no action had followed so far, he said.

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