New Delhi, Mar 5: Congress today claimed it will play a crucial role in formation of the next government in Uttar Pradesh and dismissed as personal views Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma's suggestions for a tie-up with BSP.
“We will cross the bridge when we come to it. The results have not yet come... ,” Congress leader and Union Minister Rajeev Shukla told reporters on the sidelines of an All-party meeting convened by Speaker Meira Kumar ahead of the Budget Session of Parliament commencing on March 12.
Rejecting as “hypothetical” suggestions that Rahul Gandhi needed to take the blame if the party performed poorly in Uttar Pradesh, Shukla said party's performance will be “very good” and the results will lead to revival of the party.
“To talk about the results before they are out is hypothetical. Congress will have a crucial role in government formation (in UP),” he said.
Asked about Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma's comments on supporting BSP, Shukla said, “Those are not party's views. He must have said in his personal capacity.” Speaking separately, Samajwadi Party leader Shailendra Kumar said that his party would form the government in UP having a 403-member Assembly even if “we get 165 seats”.
“We will get a clear majority but even if we fall short of 20-25 seats, we will get support from secular parties.... It is for the Congress to ponder over and decide,” he said, when asked whether Congress will support it. In an obvious reference to the Congress-led UPA at the Centre, he said the SP has supported the Congress on several issues and also opposed it on some others and “we expect the same from the secular forces”.
“We have fought this Assembly election against the goondaism and corruption of BSP and SP. So, there is absolutely no question of aligning with BSP at all,” Congress MP P L Punia, a friend-turned-foe of Mayawati, said.
Asked about Verma's comments, he said, “He (Verma) may have his personal opinion. Congress party is also not subscribing to the views expressed by Verma. These are absolutely his personal views.”
Punia and Verma are known rivals in UP politics. While Verma joined Congress after leaving SP, Punia was earlier the trusted lieutenant of Mayawati.
Verma, meanwhile, said even if Congress stands fourth in UP, the “key to power” will be in its hands. Leader of the Opposition and BJP leader Sushma Swaraj ruled out supporting any other party in government formation in Uttar Pradesh.
“Our party president has categorically said that we will either form the government or sit in the opposition,” Swaraj told reporters.
The comments by the leaders of the BJP, SP and the Congress came two days after the exit polls which gave a clear lead to SP.
SP leader Akhilesh Yadav has said his father Mulayam Singh Yadav would be the chief minister in case the party gets to form the government. He, however, parried questions on seeking support of Congress or Rahul Gandhi in case it falls short of numbers, maintaining that it all depends on the polls results.
The exit polls conducted by TV channels have projected SP in the lead in a hung house while one channel has given Yadav's party a clear majority by predicting that it may get upto 210 seats in an assembly of 403 in UP.