MUMBAI, MAY 8: Samata Party President George Fernandes today denied he had ever spoken of getting all the socialists in one block. ``We had not spoken of making a forum of socialists, our aim was to get together the Samata Party, the Biju Janata Dal, Lok Shakti and people of like ideology in the Janata Dal to form a strong political party,'' Fernandes told media person at a meeting of the Railway Mazdoor Union in the city on Saturday.The brief of the discussions at the recently held national executive of the party was prepared by party spokesperson Digvijay Singh who might have slipped the word Samajwadi (socialist) into it, Fernandes said.
George elaborated that the misunderstood proposal was aimed to stymie attempts by Opposition parties to hijack smaller coalition parties. He pointed out that the recent confidence vote had the Opposition attacking small partners of the ruling alliance with inducements of money and ministerial berths. ``Congress emissaries offered members of my party Rs 5 crore,'' healleged.
``So we realised out of this experience that when the parties are small it becomes easier to tempt away a third of its members and break parties, so if parties with a similar ideology and who were partners in the polls and in the government could be brought onto one platform, it would be very difficult to attack them.''
He did not forsee any poll arrangement between the BJP and the Samajwadi Party. ``I had said that it could be possible if they so desired, however it doesn't seem to me that it will happen since our views are diametrically opposite and irreconcilable.''
``If Mulayam Singh hadn't taken the decision which he had, then today the nikamma Congressmen would have foisted a foreigner on this country and even the Leftists were dancing with her on their shoulders,'' Fernandes said. So we would want him to continue his battle-strategy but not ignore the path that he has now taken, he added. However, he said it was too early to reveal whether his party would go in for an electoralunderstanding with Ram Vilas Paswan in Bihar.
He said there was no fight of communalism or secularism anywhere in the country. ``The party that's saying this are charlatans, who don't know the meaning of the word secularism.'' Fernandes said that while in the UK, the Queen walked into the inaugural session of parliament accompanied by the Archbishop carrying the Bible, India did not have rishis walking into parliament and no religious ceremonies in the house.
He said the alliance would focus on the achievements of the Government in 13 months from national security to law and order.
In a veiled reference to his favourite target China, the Defence Minister mentioned that Pokharan-II and Agni-II tests were not undertaken only in the context of Pakistan. ``We should stop being Pakistan-specific and realise our place in global affairs.''
Quoting Vajpayee's hyped bus trip, he said even Pakistan was not feeling threatened. Only time would bear out the confidence-building measures undertaken by the Governmentin South Asia.
Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.