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SP to decide on Sonia Gandhi's rival candidate

By Super

Hubli, Apr 5: The Samajawadi Party (SP) Central Board will decide on fielding a candidate against Congress President Sonia Gandhi in the Rai Bareilly Lok Sabha bypolls, party General Secretary Amar Singh said today.

Addressing a press conference here, he accused the Congress of adopting its old culture of harassing those who opposed it and offering flowers to its supporters. ''Income tax raids on the premises of my relatives, besides (Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J) Jayalalithaa and (TDP President) Chandrababu Naidu, are glaring examples of the Congress culture,'' he said.

Predicting that the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party would bite the dust in the coming Assembly elections to Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and Pondicherry, Mr Singh claimed that third forces like Asom Gana Parishad, SP, AIADMK, CPI and CPI(M) would emerge victorious.

About his party's stand on the office of profit issue, he said his party wanted the Government's actions to be transparent. SP would nominate Ms Jaya Bachchan, who was disqualified as MP over the issue, to the Rajya Sabha. ''Even if she is disqualified 100 times, we will put her up as a nominee 200 times,'' he declared.

Coming down heavily on the Congressmen for projecting Ms Gandhi's resignation as a great sacrifice, Mr Singh said the decision to quit from Lok Sabha membership and as National Advisory Council Chairperson was taken by Ms Gandhi after due consultations with her son Rahul Gandhi and daughter Priyanka Vadra, and not Congress leaders.

To a question, Ms Bachchan, who was also present, said she would wait till the Supreme Court verdict on the office of profit issue came and did not want to comment now.

SP Parliamentarian Jayaprada and SP State President S Bangarappa were also present on the occasion.

At a mammoth rally organised at Nehru grounds here, Mr Singh, who was here to launch his party's Statewide agitation against the ''failures'' of the UPA Government at the Centre and BJP-JD(S) coalition Government in the State, called upon the people to stand by his party. He accused the then Krishna and Dharam Singh Governments in Karnataka and the present H D Kumaraswamy-led Government of neglecting the poor and needy. While Mr Krishna always remained in Delhi, Mr Dharam Singh was busy solving the problems of JD(S) President H D Deve Gowda. Mr Kumarswamy was engaged in giving final touches to the drama being enacted by him and his father Mr Gowda, he chided.

Describing the Congress as an ''anti-Muslim'' party, Mr Singh said the Congress as well as the BJP were being run by America, with both according a red carpet welcome to US President George Bush, who was an ''enemy of the Muslim community.'' Terming the resignations of Ms Gandhi as ''one month sacrifice'', he said she would be back again for the monsoon session of Parliament, getting herself re-elected from Rai Bareilly. She had resigned when the session adjourned sine die and would be back in time for the next session.


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